NZ dollar ekes out weekly gain as greenback falls
By Rebecca Howard
Feb. 17 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar eked out a 0.2 percent gain against the US dollar over the week, largely on the back of a softer greenback as markets remain jittery about US President Donald Trump's policies.
The kiwi was trading at 72.04 US cents as at 5 pm versus 72.25 cents yesterday and from 71.89 cents early Monday in New Zealand. The trade-weighted was at 78.30 from 78.55 yesterday and from 78.37 early Monday.
Ross Weston, FX trader at Kiwibank, said Friday was largely uneventful although he was surprised it didn't "lurch lower" on domestic retail sales data as the result was weaker than expected. Earlier Friday, Statistics New Zealand said the volume of retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31, from a 0.9 percent rise in the September quarter. Economists had been expecting a 1.0 percent increase, according to ASB Senior Economist Jane Turner, although the data was in line with ASB's forecasts. A dip in manufacturing activity in January also failed to dent the kiwi.
Weston said the kiwi has a "fairly constant bid in the market at the moment. The US dollar is struggling to push higher and that seems to be supporting the kiwi," he said. Weston said the greenback is likely to remain under pressure "until we get some confirmation about what Trump is or isn't going to do and what effect that has on the fiscal side of things."
Looking ahead, Weston said there were few drivers that might push currencies around later in the global trading day and that people would continue to headline watch.
The kiwi fell to 81.61 yen from 82.22 yen yesterday. The local currency declined to 67.47 euro cents from 68.08 cents yesterday and to 57.61 British pence from 57.96 pence.The kiwi increased slightly to 4.9463 Chinese yuan from 4.9443 yuan yesterday and dipped to 93.48 Australian cents from 93.66 cents.
New Zealand's two-year swaps fell five basis points to 2.32 percent while 10-year swaps fell two basis points to 3.51 percent.