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NZ dollar gains amid mixed US data ahead of Fed meeting

NZ dollar gains amid mixed US data ahead of Federal Reserve meeting

By Tina Morrison

Sept. 16 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar gained amid mixed US data as investors await the outcome of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting starting today.

The kiwi rose to 81.72 US cents from 81.26 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index advanced to 78.51 from 78.07 yesterday.

US data overnight presented a mixed picture of the state of the world's largest economy, as the New York Fed's September US Empire Manufacturing release beat expectations, followed by August industrial production data which lagged forecasts. Investors are awaiting the outcome of the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee meeting in anticipation it may change its guidance on the future interest rate path.

"Markets appear to be a little in limbo ahead of this Thursday morning's crucial US FOMC meeting," BNZ senior market strategist Kymberly Martin said in a note. "The market may have got a little ahead of itself in the extent it anticipates a less dovish tone at this week's FOMC meeting."

The Fed has previously said that rates would stay low for a period after it completes its bond-buying programme, which is expected to end in October. The Fed has held its benchmark interest-rate target in a range of zero to 0.25 percent since 2008 to support the economy. It last raised interest rates in 2006.

Today, the local focus will be on the release of the Reserve Bank of Australia's minutes from its last meeting, due at 1:30pm New Zealand time. The minutes will likely reinforce the view that that the RBA is on hold for a prolonged period, said the BNZ's Martin.

RBA assistant governor Christopher Kent is also scheduled to speak in Sydney today.

The New Zealand dollar advanced to 90.53 Australian cents from 90.32 cents yesterday.

Early tomorrow morning, traders will be eyeing dairy prices in Fonterra Cooperative Group's latest GlobalDairyTrade auction to see if weakness continues. Dairy products are the country's largest commodity export.

The local currency rose to 50.34 British pence from 50.05 pence yesterday as opinion polling shows Thursday's referendum on Scotland breaking from the UK remains too close to call. British prime minister David Cameron, in a visit to Scotland, urged Scots to remain within the UK, saying a break would be irreversible.

The kiwi advanced to 63.14 euro cents from 62.71 cents yesterday and gained to 87.58 yen from 87.18 yen


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