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NZ dollar gains from 8-month low after Key victory, as Europe weighs

Monday 28th November 2011

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The New Zealand dollar gained from an eight-month low after the National Party was returned to power with its largest majority in 60 years and as investors continued to fret over Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.

The kiwi dollar was at 74.55 US cents just after 8am, up from 74.18 cents in late New York trading on Friday.

National gained 48 percent of the vote, up from 45 three years ago, and holds 60 seats in the 121-seat Parliament. Prime Minister John Key will talk to political allies UnitedFuture and ACT, to add their two seats and plans discussions with the Maori Party, with three more seats. In Europe, bond yields jumped, lifting the cost for sovereign borrowing as Belgium became the latest state to have its credit rating cut.

“The news out of Europe is not getting any better but this (the election result) may just give us a buffer for the next few days,” said Tim Kelleher, head of intuitional FX Sales NZ ASB Institutional.  

Investors have speculated that the euro zone could disintegrate and the euro extended losses last week, hitting the lowest level against the greenback in nearly two months on Friday.  

Kelleher said developments in Europe will take centre stage rather than kiwi dollar developments. “There are more eyes of euro zone than on the kiwi dollar.”

On Friday, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Belgium’s credit rating to AA from AA+. The cut followed Hungary’s downgrade to BA1 by Moody’s and Portugal’s which was cut to BB+, below investment grade, from BBB-.

France, Britain, Italy, Belgium and Spain are holding debt sales this week, which will provide fresh clues on investors' confidence in the ability of the region to get their fiscal mess under control. Locally, the only data due to be released today is the National Bank Business survey, which will show whether companies are feeling upbeat about the domestic economy.

The kiwi dollar fell to 76.29 Australian cents from 76.48 on Friday. It rose to 57.91 yen from 57.35 yen, and 56.07 euro cents from 55.68 cents. The local dollar increased to 48.25 British pence from 47.95 yesterday.

The trade weighted index increased to 66.91 from 66.49 yesterday.


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