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NZ dollar gains after weak US jobs figures

NZ dollar gains after weak US jobs figures weigh on tapering expectations

By Paul McBeth

Jan. 13 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar gained after weaker than expected US employment figures on Friday sapped optimism over the pace of the Federal Reserve’s plans to scale back its asset purchase programme.

The kiwi traded at 82.99 US cents at 8am in Wellington, unchanged from the New York close and up from 82.46 cents at 5pm in Wellington. The trade-weighted index edged up to 78.23 from 78.14 on Friday in Wellington.

The Dollar Index, a measure of the greenback against a basket of currencies, dropped 0.9 percent after US government data showed the world’s biggest economy added 74,000 jobs last month, more than half the 194,000 new jobs expected by analysts. That raised fears the Fed won’t withdraw its monetary stimulus as fast as anticipated, though St Louis Fed president James Bullard said he would be “disinclined to react to one month’s number.”

“It was a very disappointing jobs number in the States and the markets reacted strongly to the headline with the US dollar and interest rates much lower,” said Imre Speizer, market strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in Auckland. “It the kiwi breaks above 83 US cents, that would be meaningful – that’s where it’s been stuck.”

Westpac’s Speizer said other US economic data has been “pretty decent” and the weak employment figures may not cause much more weakness in the greenback if traders believe the Fed’s plans aren’t stalled by the news.

With no local data scheduled for release today, investors will be trading on headlines and sentiment. The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research’s quarterly survey of business opinion will come out tomorrow, and is expected to show more optimism among the country’s firms.

The local currency fell to 86.26 yen at 8am from 86.50 yen on Friday in Wellington and fell to 92.11 Australian cents from 92.63 cents. It was little changed at 60.67 euro cents from 60.57 cents last week and gained to 50.34 British pence from 50.04 pence.


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