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NZ Dollar falls as investors take stock

NZ dollar falls as investors take stock in shortened week after Fed scare

By Paul McBeth

March 21 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar fell as investors revisited their pessimism about the greenback after the Federal Reserve scaled back its projected rate hikes for this year in an abbreviated trading week.

The kiwi dropped to 67.63 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 67.96 cents at 8am and 67.94 cents on Friday in New York. The trade-weighted index fell to 71.76 from 72.38 last week.

The US dollar rallied on Friday after traders grew more comfortable with the Fed's lower track for the federal funds rate, which has seen the world's reserve currency drop to a five-month low last week. A series of Fed speakers this week will attract attention with little in the way of hard data to push the kiwi in either direction.

"It's reasonably quiet on the domestic front - it's all US driven," said Michael Johnston, senior trader at HiFX in Auckland. "We're looking (for the kiwi) to trade reasonably quietly and maybe come off heading into Easter as people square up - we think we've seen the highs in the short term."

A BusinessDesk survey of 11 advisers predicts the kiwi will trade between 65.80 US cents and 69.50 cents this week. Four expect it to remain relatively unchanged, four project it will rise and three say it will fall.

Government data today showed New Zealand's inbound net migration posted a new annual record in February, while a survey showed a dip in consumer confidence.

New Zealand's two-year swap rate decreased one basis point to 2.21 percent, and 10-years increased one basis point to 3.02 percent.

The kiwi fell to 75.30 yen from 75.79 yen on Friday in New York with Japan celebrating the spring equinox holiday.

The New Zealand dollar dropped to 4.3850 Chinese yuan from 4.3945 yuan last week after the People's Bank of China weakened the daily reference rate for the nation's currency by the most since January.

The kiwi fell to 89.13 Australian cents from 89.30 cents on Friday in New York, ahead of speeches by Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens and assistant governor (financial system) Malcolm Edey.

The local currency dropped to 59.97 euro cents from 60.27 cents last week, and was little changed at 46.81 British pence from 46.91 pence.


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