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NZ dollar little changed as Aust central bank talks intervention

The New Zealand dollar was little changed in local trading with a light flow of economic data keeping traders on the sidelines, while Reserve Bank of Australia deputy governor Philip Lowe reiterated the bank is open to intervening in foreign exchange markets to bring down its currency.

The kiwi traded at 82.37 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 81.96 cents at 8am and 82.20 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index edged up to 77.32 from 77.22 yesterday.

Traders are keeping tabs on US economic data, which may prompt the Federal Reserve to reduce monetary stimulus if growth is faster than expected, though little is on the agenda this week. The US markets face a shortened week because of the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday, and many participants likely to be absent Friday as well.

"In the absence of any data, we're at the mercy of offshore markets," said Mark Johnson, client adviser at OM Financial. "If the kiwi holds it support at 81.90 US cents, it's probably got scope to test a little higher."

The light data flow put focus on Lowe's speech today, which reiterated governor Glenn Stevens' comments that the RBA is still open to intervention to bring down the currency, provided it meets the central bank's high threshold. The Australian dollar rose to 91.87 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 91.56 cents yesterday.

The kiwi had hit a five-year high against the Australian dollar during overnight Northern Hemisphere trading, and was at 89.61 Australian cents at 5pm in Wellington from 89.75 cents yesterday.

Traders will be keeping an eye on New Zealand's merchandise trade data tomorrow.

The local currency was unchanged at 83.57 yen at 5pm in Wellington from the same time yesterday, and increased to 60.85 euro cents from 60.68 cents. It climbed to 50.98 British pence from 50.49 pence yesterday.