NZ dollar holds gains against USD as risk appetite firm

New Zealand money - hundred dollar notes. Photo: John Sefton

The New Zealand dollar held its gains against the greenback and could push slightly higher in the short term as risk appetite remains firm.

The kiwi traded at 70.22 US cents as at 5pm in Wellington from 70.25 US cents as at 8:30am in Wellington and 69.81 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index was at 73.53 from 73.57 yesterday.

The kiwi tracked improving global risk sentiment higher on stronger economic data in the US and the UK and fading concerns about Italy's political crisis.

"We are biased a little bit higher against the US, at least in the short-term....risk appetite, in general, is a little better," said ANZ senior macro strategist Philip Borkin. He said, however, it is unlikely to be a sustained move higher as "domestic data in New Zealand is looking a bit lackluster of late."

He also said that while markets are largely looking through trade issues at the moment, the upcoming meeting of leaders from the Group of Seven might create some volatility. "There will no doubt be some uncomfortable discussions," he said. G-7 leaders are slated to meet this coming weekend.

Overnight he said markets will be watching for the Global Dairy Trade auction, with dairy prices largely expected to be flat. "If we get a surprise, the currency is likely to react."

The kiwi dollar traded at 91.95 Australian cents from 92.08 cents late yesterday after the Reserve Bank of Australia kept interest rates on hold at 1.5 percent, where they have been since mid-2016.
It rose to 52.75 British pence from 52.21 pence and gained to 60.08 euro cents from 59.78 cents. The kiwi jumped to 77.19 yen from 76.33 yen as risk sentiment improved and traded at 4.5008 yuan from 4.4721 yuan.
New Zealand's two-year swap rate increased 1 basis point from Friday to 2.22 percent, while 10-year swaps rose three basis points to 3.14 percent.