NZ dollar gains against Aussie after RBA minutes show no case for cash rate change
By Rebecca Howard
Nov. 20 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar rose against its Australian counterpart after minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia reinforced expectations that the chances of near-term rate rises are low.
The kiwi traded at 94.03 Australian cents at 5pm in Wellington from 93.73 Australian cents at 8am and 93.68 cents late yesterday. It was at 68.51 US cents from 68.52 cents yesterday.
"Taking account of the available information on current economic and financial conditions, as well as the latest forecasts, members assessed that the current stance of monetary policy would continue to support economic growth and allow for further gradual progress to be made in reducing the unemployment rate and returning inflation towards the midpoint of the target," the RBA said in minutes from its latest monetary policy meeting on Nov. 6.
The bank also noted that labour market conditions had been stronger than expected but wage inflation remained muted. "Members noted that average real earnings had not increased for six years and that wages growth was a key uncertainty for both future consumption growth and inflation," according to the minutes.
The central bank also noted that while the unemployment rate is expected to gradually decline to 4.75 percent by mid-2020 "some leading indicators of labour demand suggested there could be a more pronounced decline in the unemployment rate in the near term."
Imre Speizer, Westpac Banking Corp's head of New Zealand strategy, said the comments about the unemployment rate weighed on the Aussie.
"It means there is still capacity in the system, which means there's no need to think about hiking."
Looking ahead, he said investors will be watching for the overnight dairy auction, where whole milk powder prices are expected to lift 2 percent to 3 percent from the previous auction two weeks ago. Strong production, however, may weigh on prices.
Data from the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand showed that October production hit a record high due to strong pasture growth.
The local currency traded at 4.7564 Chinese yuan from 4.7553 yuan yesterday and eased to 77.10 yen from 77.21 yen. It decreased to 53.27 British pence from 53.36 pence yesterday and fell to 59.80 euro cents from 60.04 cents.
The trade-weighted index was at 74.65 from 74.67.
New Zealand's two-year swap rate was unchanged at 2.15 percent; the 10-year swaps were up 2 basis points at 3.01 percent.