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NZ dollar extends slide, following weaker Aussie; US payrolls awaited

Friday 8th December 2017

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- The New Zealand dollar fell, extending its slide along with the Aussie, following yesterday's weak Australian trade data, as the market looks ahead to tonight's US payrolls report and keeps a watch on US tax reforms.

The kiwi declined to 68.36 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 68.60 cents late yesterday. It traded at 90.93 Australian cents from 90.85 cents as the Aussie dollar sank to a six-month low 75.01 US cents.

The kiwi was dragged lower by the Aussie after figures showed a smaller-than-expected Australian seasonally adjusted trade surplus of A$105 million in October, well short of the A$1.4 billion surplus economists expected. Figures tonight are expected to show the US economy stacked on 195,000 jobs in November, down from 261,000 the previous month, while wage pressures increased and the jobless rate held unchanged at 4.1 percent. Bets on a hike at the Federal Reserve meeting next week are running at almost 100 percent.

"Since this time yesterday, the AUD is the worst performer, not helped by a much lower-than-expected trade balance for October," said Jason Wong, currency strategist at Bank of New Zealand, in a note. "The NZD has followed a similar path, reflecting the broader commodities theme," although it remains in its recent range of 68 US cents to 70 cents, he said.

Fonterra Cooperative Group cut its forecast milk payout as expected this week, following declines in global dairy prices in four of the last five auctions.

In New Zealand today, traders will be watching for third-quarter manufacturing figures, the final partial indicator that goes into the gross domestic product report out this month.

Wong said with the US payrolls report, the market will be watching for signs of wages growth. "With the key focus on inflation at present, the market is more likely to be sensitive to this figure than the employment and unemployment rate metrics," he said. Meanwhile, he said, negotiations on the final US tax bill are continuing and there is speculation the corporate tax rate will only be cut to 22 percent rather than 20 percent, to limit the impact on the federal deficit.

The kiwi fell to 50.72 British pence from 51.25 pence and declined to 58 euro cents from 58.09 cents. It rose to 77.20 yen from 77.09 yen and fell to 4.5229 yuan from 4.5367 yuan. The trade-weighted index declined to 72.31 from 72.53 yesterday. 

(BusinessDesk)

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