NZ dollar rises as Fed minutes cite trade-war concerns, jobs report undershoots

The kiwi traded at 67.86 US cents as at 8am in Wellington. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

The New Zealand dollar rose to its highest level in more than a week against the greenback after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting showed policymakers are upbeat about the US economy but concerned about the potential impact of a trade war.

The kiwi traded at 67.86 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 67.68 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index rose to 72.56 from 72.44.

Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting show Fed policymakers discussed the "uncertainty and risks associated with trade policy had intensified and were concerned that such uncertainty and risks eventually could have negative effects," although they remained upbeat about the world's biggest economy in line with their expectations. Meanwhile, the ADP National Employment Report showed private employers hired 177,000 workers in June, less than expectations for a 190,000 gain. The ADP data comes ahead on non-farm payroll on Friday in the US which may show wage pressures are sufficient to warrant further rate hikes.

"Tonight the highlight of the economic calendar is the US employment report, expected to show ongoing strength in the labour market with another nudge higher in annual wage inflation," said Jason Wong, senior markets strategist at Bank of New Zealand, in a note. "Trading conditions remain lighter than usual following the US holiday, with only modest movements in currency and bond markets against a backdrop of stronger equity markets."

With no economic data scheduled in New Zealand today, traders will take their leads from offshore events. The US economy probably added 195,000 jobs in June, down from 223,000 the previous month, economists say. Average hourly earnings probably rose 2.8 percent from a year earlier.

The kiwi dollar rose to 4.5019 yuan from 4.4931 yuan late yesterday. It traded at 91.84 Australian cents from 91.83 cents and rose to 75.09 yen from 74.73 yen. The kiwi was little changed at 58.05 euro cents from 58.06 cents and gained to 51.33 British pence from 51.18 pence.