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NZ dollar falls as US jobs figures point to US pickup

NZ dollar falls as upbeat US jobs figures, Fed minutes fuel optimism on American recovery

By Paul McBeth

Jan. 9 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar fell after better than US jobs figures and minutes to the last Federal Reserve policy meeting stoked optimism over the recovery in the world’s biggest economy, and fuelled expectations the US central bank may withdraw stimulus faster than anticipated.

The kiwi fell to 82.54 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 82.86 cents at 8am and 82.88 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index declined to 78.29 from 78.50 yesterday.

The ADP private payrolls report showed US employers added 238,000 payrolls in December ahead of official government figures on Friday in Washington. That supported the greenback, which got another boost after the Fed minutes allayed concerns the central bank officials might be divided over the pace of slowing down their asset purchase programme. At that meeting the Fed trimmed its monthly quantitative easing to US$75 billion this month from US$85 billion.

“The good data raises expectations for Friday, which in turn raises expectations for even faster tapering,” said Imre Speizer, market strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in Auckland. “If we get a decent payrolls print (on Friday) you can say goodbye to 84 US cents for the next few weeks at least,” he said, referring to the kiwi dollar.

New Zealand government figures showed building consents rose 11 percent in November from a month earlier, driven by new apartment developments, as the property market looks to build up supply which has been lagging demand over the past year.

Still, that failed to spur support for the kiwi, which was also put under pressure by news New Zealand’s biggest company, Fonterra Cooperative Group, faced legal action from France’s Danone over its false food safety scare last year. Fonterra is the world’s biggest dairy exporter, and milk products account for about 29 percent of New Zealand’s exports.

The kiwi was little changed at 60.77 euro cents at 5pm in Wellington from 60.83 cents yesterday, ahead of the European Central Bank meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. Investors are looking to see whether the ECB may hint at further stimulus to reignite a stalling economic recovery.

The Bank of England will also review monetary policy, but isn’t expected to make any changes. The local currency fell to 50.15 British pence from 50.53 pence yesterday.

The kiwi fell to 86.50 yen at 5pm in Wellington from 86.93 yen yesterday, and traded at 92.92 Australian cents from 92.88 cents.


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