NZ dollar advances as US employment data disappoints, risk appetite returns
By Tina Morrison
Feb. 10 (BusinessDesk) – The New Zealand dollar advanced after a key US employment report pointed to a weaker economy than expected and as risk appetite returned to the market.
The kiwi touched 84.95 yen over the weekend, its highest level this year, and was trading at 84.81 yen at 8am in Wellington from 83.89 yen at 5pm on Friday. The local currency was at 82.83 US cents, from 82.90 cents at the New York close and 82.27 cents at 5pm in Wellington on Friday.
Investors are looking ahead to tomorrow night’s testimony by new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen amid speculation it may be more dovish than previously anticipated after a report in the US on Friday showed the US added 113,000 nonfarm payrolls in January, less than the 185,000 expected. Meantime, concern about emerging markets is abating, turning investor attention to risk-sensitive currencies such as the kiwi and away from safe havens like the yen.
“The NZD/USD has benefitted from a general improvement in risk appetite, and more specifically from a soft USD on Friday night,” Kymberly Martin, markets strategist at Bank of New Zealand, said in a note. “Generally, risk appetite has begun to return to markets as emerging market ructions have moved out of the spotlight as emerging markets have stabilised. This has helped appetite for ‘risk sensitive’ currencies such as the NZD return, at the expense of currencies such as the JPY.”
Today, Japanese reports are due on the current account and consumer confidence.
The New Zealand dollar rose to 92.39 Australian cents from 91.95 cents in Wellington on Friday ahead of tomorrow’s report on Australian business confidence.
The local currency advanced to 60.77 euro cents from 60.52 cents on Friday, and increased to 50.47 British pence from 50.39 pence. The trade-weighted index rose to 78.16 from 77.61 last week.