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NZ dollar retreats from month-high as election looms, commodity prices fall

Monday 11th September 2017

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 The New Zealand dollar fell from a month-high with no clear favourite for the upcoming general election and a drop in commodity prices in New York on Friday.

The kiwi was trading at 72.66 US cents as at 8:30am in Wellington, little changed from Friday in New York and down from 73.21 cents in Wellington at the end of last week. The trade-weighted index fell to 75.34 from 75.59.

An NZ Herald election forecast, taking in the latest opinion polls, projected 54 seats for Labour and 48 for National, continuing the turnaround for Labour since Jacinda Adern took over as leader. While financial markets aren't fazed by the election outcome, the uncertainty may cap any gains in the run-up to the Sept. 23 vote, analysts said. Meanwhile, the CRB Index of 19 commonly traded commodities fell 0.9 percent on Friday.

"Locally, general election jitters will continue, and combined with further softening in house prices and dairy future prices, will cap NZD," said Con Williams, rural economist at ANZ Bank New Zealand. "Sentiment toward the USD remains downbeat, and geopolitical and political news will continue to drive movements."

Today, traders will be watching for retail spending on electronic cards for August, due for release this morning. On Friday, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said that major storms tended to lift economic activity over the longer term, though Hurricanes Harvey and Irma might impact the timing of the next US interest rate hike. He signalled the central bank would likely proceed with the unwinding of its balance sheet.

Traders will also be watching for any further impact on the yuan after the People's Bank of China said it would remove a 20 percent foreign exchange margin for financial institutions buying US dollars, a move that may signal discomfort with the strong Chinese currency against the greenback which hurts exporters.

The kiwi dollar traded at 4.7064 yuan from 4.7045 yuan in New York and down from 4.7221 yuan in Wellington at the end of last week. It traded at 90.05 Australian cents from 90.11 cents in New York and gained to 78.68 yen from 78.32 yen. It was at 55.10 British pence from 55.02 pence and rose to 60.48 euro cents from 60.34 cents.


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