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NZ dollar heads for 0.7% weekly gain

NZ dollar heads for 0.7% weekly gain as US inflation data looms

By Rebecca Howard

Oct. 13 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar is heading for a 0.7 percent weekly gain, having gone sideways in the local trading session as markets await US inflation data.

The kiwi traded at 71.40 US cents as at 5pm versus 71.34 US cents as at 8am in Wellington, up from 71.04 cents yesterday. It traded at 70.92 US cents in New York last Friday. The trade-weighted index advanced to 75.04 from 74.74 yesterday.

Martin Rudings, senior dealer foreign exchange at OMF in Wellington, said the greenback has been under pressure as markets are still jittery about US President Donald Trump, given ongoing geopolitical and economic risk.

"Generally the backdrop is a dark cloud over the US economy because of Trump," something that is likely to remain, he said. The US dollar was also weighed on this week when minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's Sept. 19-20 meeting showed policy-makers held concerns about the strength of inflation in the world's biggest economy.

Against that backdrop, markets are now focused on US inflation data due Friday in the US for further clues about how aggressively the Fed will lift rates. Financial markets have priced in a roughly 88 percent chance of a rate hike in December, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool, Reuters reported.

Rudings said an easing in the greenback over September may have "brought out a little bit of inflation" and if the number is higher than expected the dollar could get a lift. The data is predicted to show the annual pace of inflation accelerating to 2.3 percent.

Domestically investors are waiting to see whether NZ First will back a National-led or Labour-led government. NZ First leader Winston Peters confirmed that his party’s board would meet with the party’s nine-MP caucus on Monday to decide which of the two major parties to support to form a government. He expected to make an announcement after that meeting.

The kiwi rose to 91.09 Australian cents from 90.86 cents yesterday and gained to 4.6952 Chinese yuan from 4.6794 yuan. It increased to 80.08 yen from 79.81 yen yesterday and advanced to 53.77 British pence from 53.59 pence. The local currency gained to 60.24 euro cents from 59.82 cents yesterday.

New Zealand's two-year swap rate was unchanged at 2.19 percent, and 10-year swaps slipped 1 basis points to 3.23 percent.


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