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NZ dollar surges to 6-year high vs. yen on risk appetite

NZ dollar surges to 6-year high vs. yen as investors favour buoyant local economy

By Tina Morrison

March 7 (BusinessDesk) – The New Zealand dollar surged to a six-year high against the yen as investors favoured higher yielding risk sensitive assets.

The kiwi touched 87.57 yen this morning, its highest level since February 2008, and was trading at 87.33 yen at 8am in Wellington from 86.45 yen at 5pm yesterday. The local currency touched a four-month high of 85.02 US cents and was trading at 84.84 cents at 8am from 84.22 cents yesterday.

The New Zealand dollar soared higher as investors seeking yield are buoyed by a slew of positive data on the local economy which is expected to see interest rates move higher from next week. Signs of a revival in Australia’s economy, after better-than-expected trade and retail sales reports yesterday, are also buoying the local currency, traders said.

“The NZD has surged higher overnight, riding a wave of positive risk sentiment and benefiting from a positive AUD story,” Bank of New Zealand currency strategist Raiko Shareef said in a note. “The strong risk-driven bid heavily favour the NZD/JPY.”

The yen was also weakened after advisers to Japan’s US$1.26 trillion public pension fund said the fund need not cling on to the safety of Japanese government bonds, Reuters reported.

The New Zealand dollar weakened to 93.22 Australian cents from 93.40 cents yesterday after the stronger-than-expected Australian data reduced speculation Australia’s central bank could cut interest rates further. Today, all eyes will be on Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens’ testimony to a parliamentary economic committee at 11:30am New Zealand time.

In the US later today, traders will be eyeing the key non-farm payrolls report for February, which is expected to show 150,000 jobs were added during the month, up from 113,000 in January.

The local currency slipped to 61.21 euro cents from 61.36 cents yesterday after the European Central Bank indicated the chances of further policy easing are slim.

The kiwi advanced to 50.62 British pence from 50.39 pence yesterday after the Bank of England kept its policy rate and the size of its asset purchase programme unchanged.

The trade-weighted index increased to 79.34 from 79.08 yesterday. The TWI touched 79.50 overnight, just 0.2 percent shy of its record 79.70 level from April last year, BNZ’s Shareef said.

“Should US non-farm payrolls disappoint tonight, a challenge of that level would not be surprising,” Shareef said.


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