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NZ dollar gains as weak US jobs report erodes optimism

NZ dollar gains as weak US jobs report erodes optimism over Fed tapering plan

By Paul McBeth

Jan. 13 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand gained in local trading after weaker than expected employment figures in the US eroded optimism the Federal Reserve will accelerate plans to scale back its monetary stimulus.

The kiwi traded at 83.31 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 82.99 cents at 8am, when it was unchanged from the close of trading in New York last week. The trade-weighted index increased to 78.41 from 78.21 from Friday in New York.

The Japanese yen strengthened in Asian trading as investors grew weary of the US dollar after official figures showed the world’s biggest economy added 74,000 jobs last month, less than half the number expected by economists. The yen was recently at 103.44 per US dollar, having touched 103.24, the strongest in four weeks, as investors gauge how much of an impact the extreme weather had on the US employment data.

“The report was obviously weather-related, but the series always seems to have some problems,” said Tim Kelleher, head of institutional FX sales NZ at ASB Institutional in Auckland. “The kiwi’s been holding up well ahead of the RBNZ (Reserve Bank of New Zealand)” policy meeting at the end of the month, he said.

Investors will get a clearer steer on the US economy throughout the week, with retail sales figures, the Fed’s beige book regional economic outlook, and manufacturing among the reports due for release.

ASB’s Kelleher said the local currency might consolidate around 83 US cents, and could push up towards 83.50/84 cents this week.

A BusinessDesk survey of nine traders and strategists predicts the local currency may trade between 82 US cents and 84.30 cents this week. Eight predict the currency will gain, and one expects it to decline.

The local currency fell to 86.20 yen at 5pm in Wellington from 86.41 yen on Friday in New York and was almost unchanged at 92.22 Australian cents from 92.21 cents. It rose to 60.90 euro cents from 60.70 cents last week and traded at 50.48 British pence from 50.34 pence.


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