Monday, July 8, 2013

US jobs data drives NZ dollar lower

The New Zealand dollar dropped to its lowest in almost two weeks after strong labour market data in the US boosted expectations the Federal Reserve will starting pulling back its asset purchase programme as early as September.

The kiwi slipped to 76.87 US cents from 77.05 cents in late New York trading on Friday, when it touched an almost two-week low of 76.86 cents.

The kiwi fell from 78.12 cents at the 5pm market close in Wellington on Friday. The trade-weighted index fell to 73.87 from 74.59.

The US dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major trading partners, surged to a three-year high after a report showed the world's largest economy added 195,000 non-farm jobs in June, exceeding estimates for 165,000 new jobs.

That buoyed expectations of an economic revival and prompted traders to increase their bets that Fed chairman Ben Bernanke will start tapering the $US85 billion ($NZ109 billion) a month quantitative easing programme, which has debased the greenback.

'Friday's upbeat US payrolls data breathed new life into the greenback,' said Mike Jones, currency strategist at the Bank of New Zealand.

'In the market's eyes, the upbeat labour data simply reinforced the likelihood that September is now the start date of QE 'tapering'.'

Traders will this week be eyeing a speech by Mr Bernanke on Wednesday for further clues to the start of tapering. The Fed will release the minutes from its June 18-19 meeting the same day.

Should the New Zealand dollar make a convincing break below 76.85 US cents, it would likely trigger another wave of selling, said Mr Jones.

The New Zealand dollar slipped to 84.89 Australian cents from 85.51 cents on Friday. It fell to 77.82 yen from 78.40 yen and weakened to 59.98 euro cents from 60.53 cents. The kiwi declined to 51.62 British pence from 51.91 pence.


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