NZ dollar little changed this week as Fed spurs greenback demand
By Paul McBeth
March 21 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar is almost unchanged this week after the Federal Reserve’s growing optimism on the strength of the US economy spurred demand for the greenback.
The kiwi traded at 85.32 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 85.34 cents at the close of trading in New York last week. It traded at 85.31 cents at 8am and 85.27 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index was little changed at 79.96 from 79.90 yesterday and 79.81 at last week’s close.
A BusinessDesk survey of nine traders and strategists on Monday predicted the local currency would trade between 83.40 US cents and 86.50 cents this week. Six predicted the kiwi would decline this week, one expected an increase and two saw it largely unchanged.
The Fed yesterday signalled US interest rates may rise faster than traders were anticipating as the world’s largest economy improves. In her first meeting as chair Janet Yellen told a press briefing rates might rise about six months after the asset purchase programme ended.
While the Fed’s moves were positive for the greenback, New Zealand’s currency held up with local data affirming the strength of the economy, which grew 0.9 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31. Government figures today showed annual inbound net migration at a decade high, while ANZ data showed upbeat consumer confidence.
“There’s nothing to suggest the New Zealand side of the story is going to look weak,” said Sam Tuck, senior FX strategist at ANZ Bank New Zealand. “That should keep the kiwi in demand on any dips.”
Traders will be watching early manufacturing indicators next week in China, Europe and the US for leads on how the global economy is tracking.
The local currency traded at 87.31 yen at 5pm in Wellington from 87.26 yen yesterday and fell to 94.17 Australian cents from 94.54 cents. It gained to 61.90 euro cents from 61.64 cents yesterday, and increased to 51.67 British pence from 51.54 pence.