Kiwi slides as retail sales point to weak economy in third quarter

The New Zealand dollar has fallen against most of its trading peers after figures show a drop in third-quarter retail sales, adding to weak employment numbers and suggesting the economy has hit a pothole.

The kiwi traded at 81.69 US cents from 81.88 cents at 8am in Wellington and from 81.66 cents in late trading the previous day. The trade-weighted index fell to 73.12 from 73.37 this morning.

Government figures today showed the volume of retail sales fell 0.4%, seasonally adjusted, in the three months ended September 30, against a Reuters survey calling for a 0.5% gain.

That adds to the gloom from data last week showing the jobless rate unexpectedly jumped to 7.3%, suggesting the economy's pace is stumbling.

Retail sales are "more evidence that the third quarter of this year was a soft patch for the New Zealand economy", says Imre Speizer, senior markets strategist at Westpac Banking Corp.

More up-to-date data, including business sentiment, suggests the economy has sped up again in the fourth quarter, he says.

The kiwi fell to 78.15 Australian cents from 78.45 cents. It did not move much after Australia's wage cost index for the third quarter rose 0.7%, close to market expectations of a 0.8% gain, for a year-on-year increase of 3.7%.

Mr Speizer says the figures do show some evidence that wage inflation is starting to slow in the mining sector.

The kiwi fell to 64.95 yen from 65.09 yen and slid to 64.21 euro cents from 64.47 cents. It dropped to 51.41 British pence from 51.62 pence.

(BusinessDesk)

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NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7422 0.0008 0.11%
AUD 0.9369 -0.0044 -0.47%
EUR 0.6605 -0.0058 -0.87%
GBP 0.4924 -0.0019 -0.38%
HKD 5.7557 0.0082 0.14%
JPY 87.9410 0.9450 1.09%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1292.6 -7.090 2015-01-23T00:
Oil Brent 49.9 0.320 2015-01-23T00:
Oil Nymex 45.6 -0.820 2015-01-23T00:
Silver Index 18.3 -0.060 2015-01-23T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5698.7 5701.3 5698.7 0.01%
NASDAQ 4752.4 4774.2 4757.9 0.29%
DAX 10593.0 10807.6 10649.6 1.40%
DJI 17668.1 17696.4 17672.6 0.03%
FTSE 6832.8 6855.9 6832.8 0.29%
HKSE 24907.2 24916.5 24850.5 0.24%
NI225 17285.7 17471.9 17511.8 -0.25%