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NZ dollar slips vs. greenback ahead of Fed’s beige book

NZ dollar slips vs. greenback ahead of Fed’s beige book, US manufacturing figures

By Paul McBeth

Jan. 15 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar slipped against the greenback ahead of the Federal Reserve’s regional outlook, known as the beige book, and US manufacturing figures, both of which will likely show more strength in the world’s biggest economy.

The kiwi fell to 83.36 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 83.77 cents at 8am and 83.70 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index was 78.87 at 5pm from 78.82 yesterday, having pushed near a post-float high earlier in the day.

The Dollar Index, a measure of the greenback against a basket of currencies, extended gains in local trading, and was recently at 80.86, having found support with better than expected consumer spending figures yesterday. That comes ahead of the Fed’s beige book and the New York Empire manufacturing survey, which will be looked on for signs of strength after a disappointing employment figures last Friday, which some analysts have put down to the harsh winter conditions.

“People will be looking for signs of continued US strength and/or signs of weather distortions,” said Sam Tuck, senior FX strategist at ANZ New Zealand in Auckland. “There’s potential (for more US dollar strength) unless we see distortions in the January data” which would weigh on the kiwi in the short-term, he said.

Government figures today showed food prices slipped in December for their third monthly decline, ahead of the release of the fourth quarter consumer price index next week. Investors are keeping a close watch on New Zealand’s pace of inflation, which may spur an early rate hike by the Reserve Bank if it starts accelerating too much.

Figures yesterday showing upbeat local business confidence and increasing property values continued to underline the divergent fortunes between the New Zealand and Australian economies, which has seen the cross-rate reach new five-year highs. The kiwi climbed to 93.40 Australian cents at 5pm in Wellington from 92.60 cents yesterday.

ANZ’s Tuck said the cross-rate has probably gone too far on a long-term basis, though the elevated level could persist over a shorter timeframe.

The local currency climbed to 87 yen at 5pm in Wellington from 86.53 yen yesterday, and was little changed at 61.13 euro cents from 61.25 cents yesterday. It fell to 50.76 British pence from 51.08 pence yesterday.


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