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NZ dollar range-bound as rate cut speculation continues


By Rebecca Howard

June 14 (BusinessDesk) - The kiwi kept to a tight range as weak data in the US and Australia fuelled speculation of possible rate cuts in those economies.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at 65.65 US cents at 8am in Wellington from 65.70 US cents at 5pm yesterday. The trade-weighted index was at 72.19 points from 72.22.

In the US, a fall in import prices to the lowest level in five months supports the case for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates this year, ANZ Bank says. Import prices for May were down 0.3 percent and the April data was also revised down. There was also a lift in US jobless numbers, with the four-week moving average of claims increasing by 2,500 last week.

The kiwi largely held its gains against the Aussie, after mixed jobs data in Australia yesterday bolstered speculation that the central bank will cut rates again soon.

While annual employment growth was strong, the "breakdown of that employment growth was less encouraging," said Capital Economics. It noted that much of the lift was in part-time jobs, which means the underutilisation rate remains high. The kiwi was trading at 94.97 Australian cents from 95.08.

Domestic data today includes house sales from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, manufacturing data and food prices. China industrial production and retail sales data tonight will provide a guide as to the impact the current trade woes with the US are having on Chinese firms.

The main focus, however, will be on next week's Federal Reserve policy meeting and rate decision. Domestically, next week's gross domestic product data will be key. If the growth is weaker than expected it will add to the view that the New Zealand central bank will also move to cut rates again.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at 51.78 British pence from 51.76, at 58.23 euro cents from 58.15, at 71.13 yen from 71.20, and at 4.5438 Chinese yuan from 4.5458.

(BusinessDesk)

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