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NZ dollar heads for 0.4% weekly fall

NZ dollar heads for 0.4% weekly fall; Temer steals Trump's limelight, US data prints stronger

By Jonathan Underhill

May 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar fell, and is heading for a 0.4 percent weekly decline, as a scandal surrounding Brazil's President Michel Temer took the spotlight off US President Donald Trump and US data printed strong enough to keep intact bets on a US rate hike next month.

The kiwi dollar fell to 68.89 US cents as at 5pm in Wellington from 69.28 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index fell to 74.75 from 75.06 yesterday.

Among the recent evidence the US economy is strong enough to warrant higher interest rates, the Philadelphia Fed business outlook index for May jumped to 38.8, about twice the 18.5 level estimated by economists, while a Reuters poll revised up the forecast for US GDP in the second quarter. Separately, Loretta Mester, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, said the Fed needed to keep raising rates if economic conditions continue as expected and also should begin the process of shrinking its balance sheet.

"If quantitative easing debased the US dollar then quantitative tightening should have the opposite effect," said Mark Johnson, senior dealer at OMF. "The market has pretty much priced in that the Fed will hike in June."

Fed funds futures are pricing in a 70 percent chance that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in June.

The Brazilian real tumbled on allegations President Temer condoned bribery payments to a witness in a corruption probe. Temer has vowed not to resign.

The kiwi dollar surged to 2.3192 real from 2.1743 real yesterday.

Reports about Temer almost pushed Trump off the front pages. Speculation has mounted about the risks to US President Donald Trump of the ongoing Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into links between his team and Russian officials ahead of the election and Trump's subsequent sacking of FBI director James Comey.

The kiwi didn't move much after figures showed net migration remained at record levels in April, while short-term visitors also charted a new high.

The New Zealand dollar was little changed at 92.775 Australian cents from 92.86 cents. The kiwi slipped to 61.99 euro cents from 62.17 cents and fell to 53.17 British pence from 53.42 pence. It dropped to 76.72 yen from 77.01 yen and declined to 4.7480 yuan from 4.7745 yuan yesterday.

New Zealand's two-year swap rate was unchanged at 2.22 percent and 10-year swaps dropped 6 points to 3.21 percent.

(BusinessDesk)

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