By Rebecca Howard
April 15 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar was trading higher as a strong lift in China's exports and lending data and positive news from US-China trade talks helped ease concerns about a global slowdown.
The kiwi was trading at 67.62 at 8am in Wellington versus 67.60 late Friday in New York and 67.37 US cents at 5pm in Wellington. The trade-weighted index was at 73.19 points from 73.17 in New York Friday and 73.06 points in Wellington.
'Broad improvement to risk appetite on the back of better-than-expected China data saw the kiwi rally into the weekend. It will likely remain supported in the near term as risk sentiment is carried across this week," said ANZ Bank FX/rates strategist Sandeep Parekh.
Markets were cheered by news late Friday that China's March exports rose 14.2 percent from a year earlier. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 7.3 percent gain after February’s 20.8 percent plunge. The mood was not dented by the fact that imports fell more than expected. China's lending data - also released Friday - was strong. Chinese banks extended 1.69 trillion yuan in net new yuan loans in March, up sharply from February and far more than expected, Reuters reported.
The data "led to a mild positive twisting of the risk dial," said Mike Shirley, a senior dealer at Kiwibank.
Investors were also upbeat when US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday that he believed trade talks with China are nearing their final stages, according to the New York Times. Mnuchin again repeated his claim that the biggest obstacle to a trade deal — how to enforce the agreement — is nearly settled.
The New Zealand dollar was at 94.18 Australian cents from 94.23 and at 51.68 British pence from 51.70. It was at 59.84 euro cents from 59.8, at 75.70 Japanese yen from 75.72 and at 4.5332 Chinese yuan from 4.5325.
Looking ahead, the main domestic data this week will be the first quarter inflation data due Wednesday. Economists are expecting a 0.3 percent lift on quarter in the consumers price index and a 1.7 percent annual inflation rate.