The New Zealand dollar held near a seven-week low as traders await figures expected to show US economic growth is back on track and the results of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy review, which may hint at a better outlook.
The kiwi traded at 85.11 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 84.96 cents at 8am and from 85.15 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index was little changed at 79.54.
The US economy grew at an annualised 3 percent pace in the second quarter, according to a Bloomberg survey. That would reverse the 2.9 percent contraction in the first quarter, to leave gross domestic product relatively flat in the first half of the year. The Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies. is at its highest since late January. The Federal Open Market Committee's statement may provide some clues to when the central bank will lift interest rates from near zero, which requires proof the world's biggest economy is improving, including the labour market.
"We're seeing a move in the markets where the US dollar is slowly pushed to the forefront," said Stuart Ive, senior dealer at OMF. "The market is hoping the statement from the Fed is going to be a little bit more hawkish than it has been, particularly around employment. It's quite clear the US, although fairly uneven, is spluttering towards better numbers, better growth."
Ive said the kiwi dollar has probably peaked for now and is likely to pull back "to the low 80s."
The kiwi has tumbled from more than 88 US cents in the face of tepid inflation figures, weaker prices for the nation's key exports of dairy and logs, and a central bank signalling a pause in its tightening cycle. Fonterra Cooperative Group yesterday confirmed the impact of falling global dairy prices, cutting its forecast farmgate milk payout for 2015 to $6 a kilogram of milk solids from a previous forecast of $7.
The kiwi traded at 90.66 Australian cents from 90.62 cents yesterday, and was at 63.47 euro cents from 63.40 cents. It traded at 50.22 British pence from 50.17 pence and was at 86.87 yen from 86.84 yen.