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NZD under pressure against Aussie as investors cheered

NZD under pressure against Aussie as investors cheered by easing of trade jitters

By Rebecca Howard

Dec. 13 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar is under pressure against the Australian dollar as signs of progress in the US-China trade dispute benefit the Aussie more than the kiwi, given Australia's greater exposure to China.

The kiwi traded at 94.84 Australian cents at 5pm in Wellington from 94.87 Australian cents at 8am and from 95.42 cents yesterday. It touched a high of 95.84 on Monday. The New Zealand dollar was at 68.56 US cents from 68.90 late yesterday.

Sentiment was buoyed overnight after Reuters reported that Chinese state-owned companies have bought more than 1.5 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans and China appears to be toning down its high-tech industrial development push, dubbed “Made in China 2025,” according to new guidance to local governments.

"Last night was generally a risk positive market," said Mark Johnson, a private client manager at OMF. He said, however, the kiwi was unwinding against the Australian dollar as the Australian dollar had been harder hit by the jitters around trade, given its more significant exposure to China. The Australian dollar is also often used as a more liquid proxy for the yuan, he said.

The Australian dollar is currently trading at 72.28 US cents and Johnson said if it pushes above 72.50 US cents it will open up some reasonable upside, which will further weigh on the kiwi/aussie cross.

He said investors were not phased by news that New Zealand's Treasury trimmed its surplus forecasts for the next three years and lowered its growth forecasts.

"We weren’t expecting any big surprises in today’s Half-Year Economic Update, and we didn’t get any. The general message was that the government’s books are in good shape and are expected to remain that way so long as the government sticks to its Budget Responsibility Rules and the Treasury’s central economic outlook broadly materialises," said ANZ Bank in a note.

The kiwi also remained under pressure against the British pound after UK Prime Minister Theresa May's "stay of execution," said Johnson. It was trading at 54.34 pence from 55.09 pence yesterday. Markets had already bet May would be able to survive a 'no confidence' vote but Johnson said the British pound may not be able to sustain the rally as the risk of a chaotic Brexit remains.

The kiwi was at 4.7116 Chinese yuan from 4.7436 yuan. It fell to 77.77 yen from 78.17 yen yesterday and declined to 60.31 euro cents from 60.83 cents. The trade-weighted index fell to 74.82 from 75.35.

New Zealand's two-year swap rate rose 2 basis points to 2.07 percent; the 10-year swaps rose 3 basis points to 2.77 percent


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