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NZ dollar holds gains; Wednesday's CPI in focus

By Rebecca Howard

April 16 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar continues to hold its gains as optimism over the US-China trade talks supports risk appetite.

The kiwi was trading at 67.72 US cents at 8am in Wellington, unchanged from 5pm. The trade-weighted index was at 73.19 points from 73.29.

There were "positive noises" out of US-China trade talk negotiations overnight, as China considers reshuffling some of its tariffs off agricultural goods in order to take some pressure off US farmers, said ANZ FX/rates strategist Sandeep Parekh. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said overnight that the US is open to agreeing repercussions for not keeping up its end of any trade agreement, and would expect the same from China, he said.

The kiwi is also awaiting fresh drivers like the Reserve Bank of Australia's minutes and weekly Australian consumer confidence today and domestic inflation data tomorrow.

Economists expect the consumers price index rose 0.3 percent in the three months ended March 31, for an annual increase of 1.7 percent, based on the median estimate from a poll of economists by Bloomberg. That compares to the Reserve Bank's quarterly projection of 0.2 percent for an annual rise of 1.6 percent.

If the data proves weaker than expected it will increase speculation the central bank could cut rates as early as May. However, "the RBNZ doesn't need to cut in May with record low mortgage rates on offer. Instead, it could flatten the OCR forward guidance as a dovish pause," said Annette Beacher, Chief Asia-Pacific macro strategist for TD Securities.

The New Zealand dollar was at 94.27 Australian cents from 94.45 and at 51.61 British pence from 51.71 It was at 59.81 euro cents from 59.87, at 75.73 Japanese yen from 75.79 and at 4.5341 Chinese yuan from 4.5429

(BusinessDesk)

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