NZ dollar edges up as US employment figures loom
The New Zealand dollar increased in local trading ahead of US employment figures which are seen as the lynchpin to whether the US Federal Reserve will start "tapering" its US$85 billion monthly bond-buying stimulus.
The kiwi rose to 79.08 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 78.88 cents at 8am, and 78.95 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index gained to 74.95 from 74.68 yesterday.
US non-farm payroll statistics are expected to show the world's biggest economy added 180,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate remained at 7.4 percent. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has linked the reduction in his money printing programme to an improving labour market, and the jobs data is seen as being the final arbiter on whether the tapering plan will begin this month.
"It's going to be the final hurdle for 'Septapering' - it's either a real baddie and takes it off the table, or its ok to a goodie in which case it's firmly on the table," said Imre Speizer, market strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in Auckland. "The payrolls then the September FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) should give the kiwi direction."
The local currency is heading for a 2.4 percent gain against the greenback this week, opening at 77.19 US cents on Monday. A BusinessDesk survey of 10 strategists and traders on Monday predicted it would trade between 76 cents and 80.50 cents this week. Five expected it to advance, three predicted it would fall and two said it would likely stay unchanged.
The trade-weighted index is heading for a 1.5 percent weekly gain from 73.86 at the Monday open.
Investors will keep an eye on Chinese trade figures over the weekend, and the Australian Federal election, which will likely herald a change of the government. The kiwi gained to 86.60 Australian cents at 5pm in Wellington from 86.13 cents yesterday.
The local currency was little changed at 78.91 yen from 78.85 yen yesterday, and climbed to 60.25 euro cents from 59.86 cents. It increased to 50.68 British pence from 50.57 pence.