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NZ dollar falls as US data keeps door open for rate hike

NZ dollar declines as US labour market data keeps door open to potential rate hike

By Tina Morrison

Sept. 7 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar declined after US labour market data left open the possibility of US interest rate hikes this month.

The kiwi fell to 62.89 US cents at 8am in Wellington, from 62.77 cents at the New York close and 63.61 cents at 5pm on Friday. The trade-weighted index slipped to 68.75 from 69.27 on Friday.

Traders are split on whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates for the first time since 2006 at its Sept. 16-17 meeting amid concern about global growth. US employment data published on Friday showed the world's largest economy added 173,000 jobs in August, lagging behind expectations for 217,000, although economists speculated the data may later be revised higher in line with previous years.

Data for the previous two months was revised up, average hourly earnings increased more than expected and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent, which is in line with the Fed's view of the long-run equilibrium rate.

"On balance, US labour market data were slightly-stronger-than expected," ANZ Bank New Zealand senior economist Philip Borkin and senior FX strategist Sam Tuck said. "These data leave the Fed in play for September. However, ongoing ructions in emerging markets and the lift in equity market volatility will remain important considerations."

ANZ expects the kiwi to trade between 62.60 US cents and 63.40 cents today.

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In New Zealand today, second-quarter wholesale trade data is published at 10:45am.

All eyes today will be on Chinese equity markets which will resume trading after a four-day break, following previous volatility. China’s stock markets were closed last Thursday and Friday for ceremonies to mark the end of World War II. Ahead of the resumption of trade, People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said the rout in local stocks was near an end.

Meanwhile, US markets will be closed on Monday for the Labour Day weekend.

This week, the local focus is Thursday's Reserve Bank meeting where governor Graeme Wheeler is expected to reduce the benchmark a quarter point to 2.75 percent.

The New Zealand dollar slipped to 90.97 Australian cents from 91.25 cents on Friday, fell to 56.34 euro cents from 57.14 cents, declined to 41.42 British pence from 41.76 pence, dropped to 74.78 yen from 75.86 yen and sank to 3.9966 yuan from 4.0424 yuan.


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