NZ dollar falls as investors sell riskier assets on emerging market concerns
By Tina Morrison
Feb. 3 (BusinessDesk) – The New Zealand dollar touched a five-month low as investors sold riskier assets on concern emerging markets and so-called risk assets will falter should global growth slow.
The kiwi touched 80.61 US cents over the weekend, its lowest since Sept. 11 last year. The local currency was trading at 80.73 cents at 8am in Wellington from 80.85 cents at the New York close and 81.50 cents at 5pm on Friday. The trade-weighted index slipped to 76.84 from 77.25 on Friday.
An MSCI index of emerging market stocks has dropped about 5 percent so far this year on signs China’s economy may be losing steam. The New Zealand dollar has weakened since Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler last week kept interest rates on hold, disappointing some traders who expected a hike. Investors who had been holding the higher-yielding kiwi in anticipation of an early hike are now selling down their holdings as they price in the risk from emerging markets.
“Downward momentum in the NZD/USD continued as equities, and riskier assets generally, struggled,” Kymberly Martin, markets strategist at Bank of New Zealand, said in a note. “Global risk appetite may have the final say on NZD/USD direction near-term.”
A convincing break below 80.80 US cents would open the way for a pullback toward 80 cents and beyond, Martin said.
The New Zealand dollar touched a three-week low of 92.15 Australian cents and was trading at 92.19 cents at 8am from 92.65 cents on Friday. Australia has data on inflation, building permits and job advertisements today ahead of the Reserve Bank decision on interest rates tomorrow.
The kiwi fell to a month low of 59.68 euro cents and was trading at 59.84 cents at 8am from 60.11 cents on Friday after a report showed Eurozone inflation fell to an annual 0.7 percent pace from 0.8 percent. Economists had expected annual inflation of 0.9 percent.
The local currency touched a 20-month low of 48.91 British pence and was trading at 49.09 pence at 8am from 49.45 pence on Friday.
The New Zealand dollar touched a 12-week low of 82.24 yen, and was trading at 82.28 yen at 8am from 83.53 yen on Friday.