NZ dollar holds near 3-week low heading into Christmas break
The New Zealand dollar held near its lowest in more than three weeks heading into the Christmas break and was weaker against the Australian dollar while not moving outside its recent trading range.
The kiwi was at 81.97 US cents from 82.05 cents at the start of the day and from 82.09 cents in New York on Friday. The currency traded at 91.77 Australian cents, little changed from 8am, having touched as low as 91.62 cents in New York.
The New Zealand dollar is heading into year-end little changed against the greenback from where it started 2013, with its most dramatic movement being a 15% advance against the Australian dollar on evidence the local economy is outpacing its transtasman counterpart.
Reports last week continued to show New Zealand's economy on a tear with growth at the fastest quarterly pace in almost four years and business confidence at the highest in almost 15 years.
"What we are seeing is people tidying up their books for the Christmas period, it's the last throw of the dice, there is no data today," said Stuart Ive, senior adviser at OMF. "The kiwi remains on an upside bias and I don't see that changing in the near future."
Trading was generally subdued across Asia, with Japan closed for the Emperor's Birthday, Ive said.
The local currency dropped to 85.30 yen from 85.66 yen after the Bank of Japan kept its key interest rate unchanged and indicated the pace of bond purchases would remain the same in 2014.
The New Zealand dollar weakened to 59.97 euro cents from 60.15 cents on Friday even after Standard & Poor's cut the European Union's rating, citing weaker cohesion among members and a deteriorating financial profile.
The kiwi was little changed at 50.18 British pence from 50.13 pence on Friday after revisions to UK GDP showed the economy is growing faster than previously estimated. The trade-weighted index slipped to 77.50 from 77.74 in Wellington on Friday.