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NZ dollar consolidates at lower levels

The New Zealand dollar tumbled today as equity markets in Asia weakened after disappointing data from the United States and Europe.

The NZ dollar was at US81.28c at 5pm, down US81.62c at 8am and US82.25c at 5pm yesterday.

Goldman Sachs & Partners said the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is expected to keep the official cash rate unchanged at 2.5 percent next Thursday and this was the market consensus.

"Since the RBNZ's last official cash rate announcement, the domestic news-flow has generally taken on an improving trend and inflation nuances are becoming slightly more concerning.

"But against this backdrop momentum in some of New Zealand's key trading partners is slowing, the NZ dollar has risen strongly and uncertainties surrounding the impact of the earthquake still exist," Goldman Sachs said.

Overnight investors fled stock markets in the US and poured into Treasuries after dismal US economic data.

The US dollar was near a month low in Asian trading today after employment and manufacturing reports for May suggested US growth was slowing more quickly than first thought.

"The sugar high that has buoyed the US economy over the past six months is wearing out, and there is little in economic growth or foundation to show for it," said Douglas Borthwick, a managing director with Faros Trading in Stamford, Connecticut.

Sterling came under strong selling pressure overnight in reaction to weaker-than-expected UK manufacturing PMI. Tonight traders are looking at US initial claims and Spanish employment rate.

Against the Australian dollar, the NZ dollar eased to A76.49c at 5pm from A76.89c at 8am and A76.53c at 5pm yesterday.

The Australian dollar rose today after Australian retail sales beat expectations, a day after news that the Australian economy contracted in the first quarter.

News that dairy commodity prices rose at Fonterra's overnight online auction did not help the NZ dollar today. The average winning price at the overnight event fell to $US4306 ($NZ5287) from $US4443 a fortnight ago.

The NZ dollar fell to 65.78 yen at 5pm from 66.82 at the same time yesterday, and was at 0.5657 euro from 0.5698 euro yesterday.

The trade weighted index fell to 70.18 at 5pm from 70.77 yesterday.      

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