By Rebecca Howard
July 17 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar pared some of its gains after stronger-than-expected US retail sales data cheered markets.
The kiwi was trading at 67.01 US cents at 8am in Wellington versus 67.32 cents at 5pm. The trade-weighted index was at 73.30 from 73.50.
The value of US retail sales rose 0.4 percent in June, ahead of the expected 0.2 percent rise, according to the US Department of Commerce.
The better than expected retail data “boosted the greenback, pretty much at the expense of everything else,” said Kiwibank trader Mike Shirley.
ANZ Bank FX/rates strategist Sandeep Parekh noted the gains were "fairly broad-based with only electronics seeing a small pull back, suggesting the consumer is alive and well."
Capital Economics said, however, a US rate cut by the US Federal Reserve is still on the cards for the end of the month.
“Overall, it would be very surprising if the Fed didn’t follow through with a 25bp rate cut later this month, but lingering market expectations of a 50bp move look wide of the mark,” it said.
Markets are pricing a 72.4 percent chance of a 25 basis-point rate cut and a 27.6 percent chance of a 50 point cut, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool. The weighting on a 25-point cut is slightly higher than prior to the retail data.
The kiwi largely overlooked a lift in global dairy prices in the overnight GDT auction. Whole milk powder prices – which make up the bulk of the auction – lifted 3.6 percent to US$3,074 from the prior auction two weeks ago.
The New Zealand dollar was at 95.54 Australian cents versus 95.65, at 53.99 British pence from 53.78, at 59.76 euro cents from 59.79, at 72.53 yen from 72.69, and at 4.6058 Chinese yuan from 4.6268.