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NZ dollar gains as investors pare bets on QE3, Fed looms

NZ dollar gains as investors pare bets on more US money printing, Fed minutes loom

By Paul McBeth

Aug. 20 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar rose in local trading as upbeat data in the US eroded expectations the Federal Reserve will embark on a third round of asset purchases and as the minutes from the American central bank’s last meeting loom.

The kiwi rose to 80.92 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 80.65 cents at 8am and 80.72 cents at the close of trading in New York on Friday. The trade-weighted index was little changed at 73.06 from 72.99 last week.

The yield on 10-year US Treasuries held near a three-month high 1.81 percent as investors pulled back their expectations Fed chairman Ben Bernanke will unveil more quantitative easing at next week's central bankers' summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Traders have wound down their forecast for more asset purchases after a string of US data, such as upbeat consumer confidence and better-than-expected housing figures, allay concerns about the health of the world's biggest economy. Investors will get a hint on the Fed's thinking when the minutes from this month's Federal Open Market Committee meeting are released on Wednesday in Washington DC.

"Bond market movements show people are lowering the likelihood of QE3 any time soon," said Chris Tennent-Brown, FX economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. If the minutes indicate we're "not going to get more QE, I'd expect bond yields to rise and the US dollar to firm" which would sap the kiwi dollar, he said.

Tennent-Brown said the kiwi dollar will probably trade in a familiar range of between 79.75 US cents and 82.20 cents this week in the lead-up to creditors meetings between Greek politicians and the French and German counterparts.

The kiwi rose to 65.61 euro cents from 65.35 cents last week.

New Zealand's service sector activity continued to expand last month, according to the BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of services index, with new orders/business showing the strongest growth.

The Reserve Bank's survey of expectations is due for release tomorrow, and is expected to show financial institutions have low inflation forecasts.

The New Zealand dollar was little changed at 77. Australian cents from 77.33 cents at the close of trading in New York. The kiwi gained to 51.55 British pence from 51.35 pence, and advanced to 64.28 yen from 64.12.


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