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NZ dollar falls as Fed official Lockhart talks up rate hikes

NZ dollar falls as Fed official Lockhart talks up rate hikes this year

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 22 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar fell as Federal Reserve official Dennis Lockhart talked up the chances of US rate hike coming this year, the third Fed official to support higher interest rates since last week's meeting, and stoking demand for the greenback.

The kiwi fell to 63.21 US cents at 8am in Wellington from 63.57 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index slipped to 68.46 from 68.61 yesterday.

The US dollar index, a measure of the greenback against a basket of currencies, rallied after Atlanta Fed president Lockhart said he would have voted for a hike at last week's Federal Open Market Committee review if he was a member, saying "I am confident the much-used phrase 'later this year' is still operative," and that the delay was mostly influenced by heightened market volatility. Lockhart's comments echo other Fed officials over the weekend, who support raising interest rates.

"Markets reassessed their risk-off reaction to the Fed’s move to some degree last night," ANZ Bank New Zealand senior economist Sharon Zollner and senior FX strategist Sam Tuck said in a note. "Markets completed the reversal of the Fed reaction last night, with NZD/USD trading lower as markets took heed of Fed speakers – who talked of normalisation."

With no local data today, investors will be watching Australian house price figures and a consumer confidence survey. The kiwi was unchanged at 88.60 Australian cents.

The local currency rose to 56.46 euro cents from 56.15 cents yesterday after European Central Bank chief economist Peter Praet said the regional monetary authority is prepared to ramp up stimulus measures to get inflation near the bank's 2 percent target rate.

The kiwi edged down to 40.76 British pence from 40.89 pence yesterday ahead of a speech by Bank of England governor Mark Carney. It was unchanged at 76.14 yen, and declined to 4.0224 Chinese yuan from 4.0439 yuan yesterday.


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