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NZ dollar little changed below 69 US cents

NZ dollar little changed below 69 US cents as US CPI adds to Fed hike case

By Jonathan Underhill

Nov. 16 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar was little changed, holding below 69 US cents, after US inflation figures came in near expectations, keeping intact bets that the Federal Reserve will hike US interest rates next month.

The kiwi dollar traded at 68.75 US cents as at 8am in Wellington, having climbed as high as 69.18 cents overnight, from 68.71 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index was at 72.87 from 72.90 yesterday.

US Labor Department figures showed the consumer price index rose 0.1 percent last month, matching economists forecasts, while core inflation was 1.8 percent year-on-year, beating estimates of a 1.7 percent rate. Other US figures showed retail sales rose 0.2 percent in October against expectations of no change. Signs of strengthening inflation have helped confirm expectations that the Fed will hike rates for the third time this year in its final meeting for 2017, while the Reserve Bank has no plans to raise rates in the near term.

"With the data broadly in line with expectations, and the details showing tentative signs that some of the factors that had weighed on inflation earlier in the year are abating, it seems fair to believe that a (Fed) hike now looks locked and loaded," said Philip Borkin, senior economist at ANZ Bank New Zealand. "The October CPI figures were viewed by many as one of the most important final hurdles for whether the Fed would hike again at its final meeting of the year next month."

The ANZ consumer confidence survey for November will be closely watched today for any signs sentiment is changing in the wake of the new government.

The kiwi was trading at 90.63 Australian cents from 90.56 cents late yesterday after the local currency gained on the cross rate on Australian figures showing wage inflation was weaker than expected.

The kiwi fell to 52.18 British pence from 52.28 pence and traded at 58.24 euro cents from 58.26 cents. It was at 4.5513 yuan from 4.5556 yuan and traded at 77.61 yen from 77.72 yen.



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