NZ dollar edges higher ahead of RBNZ policy review under new governor Orr

The kiwi gained to 69.81 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 69.64 cents yesterday. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

The New Zealand dollar rose from a four-month low ahead of Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr's first monetary policy statement, which is under close scrutiny for any deviation from the previous leadership.

The kiwi gained to 69.81 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 69.64 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index increased to 73.24 from 73.13.

Orr is expected to keep the official cash rate at 1.75 percent, with the future track likely to remain flat as inflation remains subdued with the RBNZ's survey of expectations this week showing firms didn't expect consumer prices to rise quickly. Still, the currency is tracking below the Reserve Bank's projections and oil prices have been rising, meaning there's scope for tradeable inflation to start creeping back into the economy. Traders are focusing on Orr's tone and style of delivery, which is an unknown quantity, at the press conference, select committee hearing, and subsequent media interviews.

"Although the RBNZ is widely expected to maintain rates, governor Orr will be watched closely, and volatility could be elevated given the uncertainties," ANZ Bank New Zealand chief economist Sharon Zollner and economist Daniel Wilson. "A hawkish surprise seems unlikely, but if there is any shift in bias it will likely have some legs as it may be viewed as a new trend under new leadership and targets."

The greenback was flat in Northern Hemisphere trading, while Brent Crude oil prices rose 3.2 percent to US$77.24 a barrel in response to US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran deal and re-impose sanctions on the Middle East nation.

Local data today include March accommodation figures, which will likely remain elevated with New Zealand's strong tourism inflows.

The kiwi traded at 93.55 Australian cents from 93.68 cents yesterday was at 4.4389 Chinese yuan from 4.4373 yuan. It edged up to 51.54 British pence from 51.46 pence yesterday and rose to 58.90 euro cents from 58.77 cents. It gained to 76.60 yen from 76.25 yen yesterday.