NZ dollar falls vs Aussie on stronger-than-expected China imports; inflation data looms
By Jonathan Underhill
April 16 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar fell against its Australian counterpart as the Aussie benefitted from stronger-than-expected Chinese import data and ahead of domestic data this week which is expected to show inflation remains weak.
The kiwi dollar fell to 94.57 Australian cents as at 8am in Wellington from 94.72 cents in New York on Friday. The kiwi traded at 73.53 US cents from 73.57 cents and the trade-weighted index was at 75.37 from 75.40.
Traders said missile strikes by the US, France and the UK against Syria's Assad regime, in retaliation for chemical weapons attacks, will limit any upside moves in the kiwi this week although it didn't provoke a sharp selloff when the market opened in New Zealand this morning. Chinese trade data at the end of last week showed imports jumped 14.4 percent year-on-year in March, beating estimates of a 12 percent gain, while the CRB Index of 19 commodities rose to the highest in almost three months and Brent crude oil reached the highest since late 2014.
"Better than expected Chinese import data may have helped sentiment towards the AUD, alongside strength in commodities," said Nick Smyth, interest rate strategist at Bank of New Zealand. "Consequently, NZD/AUD has retreated to below 0.95."
Locally, traders will be watching today for the Performance of Services Index and the food price index for March, which comes ahead of the release of the consumers price index for the first quarter on Thursday. Smyth said BNZ expects a quarterly inflation rate below consensus of 0.3 percent for an annual rate of 0.9 percent.
That would be half the quarterly pace forecast by the Reserve Bank in its last monetary policy statement while the annual rate would be below the RBNZ's 1.1 percent estimate and also below the central bank's target range. The RBNZ has no plans to hike interest rates any time soon.
The kiwi traded at 79.07 yen from 78.97 yen in New York on Friday. It slipped to 59.59 euro cents from 59.69 cents and traded at 51.60 British pence from 51.67 pence. It traded at 4.6122 yuan from 4.6166 yuan on Friday.