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NZ dollar gains as weaker US jobs damp Fed hike prospects

NZ dollar gains after weaker US jobs damp Fed rate hike prospects

By Tina Morrison

Aug. 4 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar rose on US dollar weakness after a key government measure of the US labour market fell short of expectations, reinforcing the view that the Federal Reserve won't pull forward the timing of an interest rate hike.

The kiwi traded as low as 84.59 US cents ahead of the payrolls report, and spiked as high as 85.34 cents. The local currency was trading at 85.07 US cents at 8am in Wellington, from 85.16 cents at the New York close and 84.95 cents at 5pm in Wellington on Friday. The trade-weighted index was unchanged at 79.71 from Friday.

The US dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, declined following the publication of the nonfarm payrolls release in the US on Friday. The report showed the world's largest economy added 209,000 jobs in July, falling short of the 233,000 expected in a Reuters survey of economists, while the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent. Average hourly earnings were flat, missing forecasts for a 0.2 percent gain, suggesting the Fed won't raise interest rates any time soon.

"The US dollar was broadly weaker post the US payrolls report," Kymberly Martin, senior market strategist at Bank of New Zealand, said in a note. "A defining component of the survey for the market was likely that wage pressures remained contained. The wage data, in particular, suggest no additional pressure of the Fed to get going with 'normalising' the Fed Funds Rate."

Today, traders will be watching the ANZ commodity price index at 1pm, where a decline may hurt the kiwi, BNZ's Martin said.

The New Zealand dollar slipped to 91.35 Australian cents from 91.43 cents on Friday ahead of a report on Australian retail sales for June.

The kiwi advanced to 50.55 British pence from 50.34 pence on Friday after July UK Manufacturing PMI came in at 55.4, missing expectations for 57.2.

The local currency weakened to 63.35 euro cents from 63.46 cents on Friday and slipped to 87.21 yen from 87.44 yen.


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