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NZ dollar hits 7-week high as US jobs report looms

NZ dollar advances to 7-week high as analysts pull back expectations for US payroll data

By Tina Morrison

March 6 (BusinessDesk) – The New Zealand dollar advanced to a seven-week high as analysts pulled back their expectations for a key US employment measure tomorrow following weaker data.

The kiwi touched a high of 84.32 US cents this morning and was trading at 84.22 cents at 8am from 83.90 cents at 5pm yesterday. The trade-weighted index reached a six-week high of 79.17 and was at 79.07 at 8am from 78.83 yesterday.

The greenback weakened against higher yielding currencies after softer than expected reports on private sector payrolls and the employment component of non-manufacturing ISM signalled tomorrow’s key US non-farm payrolls report may be weaker than previously expected.

“Markets took a dim view of US employment indicators, leading to USD weakness against NZD,” ANZ Bank strategist Carrick Lucas and senior FX strategist Sam Tuck said in a note. “ADP employment and ISM non-manufacturing employment both signalled downside risks to Friday’s payrolls and thus the US recovery in general.”

The ADP National Employment report showed US private employers added 139,000 jobs in February, lower than the 160,000 expected in a Reuters poll of economists, while gains the previous month were revised downward. Meantime, the employment component of the non-manufacturing ISM slumped to a four-year low of 47.5 from 56.4 in January.

“Analysts were busy ratcheting down their forecasts for Friday’s payrolls data,” ANZ said. Traders are currently expecting an extra 150,000 jobs were added to non-farm payrolls in February and markets may look through a weaker number on the expectation the month was impacted by winter storms.

“The big question now is whether we get a sharp bounce in payrolls next month,” ANZ said.

The New Zealand dollar advanced to 93.70 Australian cents from 93.63 cents yesterday ahead of data on Australia’s trade balance and retail sales for January, scheduled for release at 1:30pm New Zealand time.

The kiwi touched a six-week high of 86.33 yen and was trading at 86.17 yen at 8am from 85.71 yesterday as concerns eased over escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The local currency rose to 61.30 euro cents from 61.08 cents yesterday amid speculation the European Central Bank may increase stimulation when it meets today. The euro failed to increase even after better-than expected retail sales and a positive report on private sector business growth.

The New Zealand dollar touched a three-week high of 50.49 British pence and was trading at 50.34 pence at 8am from 50.32 pence yesterday leading in to the Bank of England meeting where no change is expected.


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