Dollar rises to two-week high vs. yen on improved risk appetite

The New Zealand dollar touched a two-week high against the yen today as investor concerns about emerging markets abated and after a key address by new Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen failed to ruffle markets.

The kiwi rose as high as 85.63 yen early this morning, and was trading at 85.43 yen at 8am from 84.78 yen at 5pm yesterday. The local currency advanced to 83.28 US cents from 83.00 cents yesterday after Yellen signalled no change to the Fed's policy path in her testimony to Congress.

Investors are favouring higher risk assets such as the New Zealand dollar and shedding safe haven investments such as the yen as concerns fade about the outlook for emerging markets. Traders today will be eyeing the release of Chinese trade data for clues as to how the world's second-largest economy is tracking, which could affect "risk" trades.

"The most notable move on the crosses over the past 24-hours has been the NZD/JPY," Kymberly Martin, markets strategist at Bank of New Zealand, said in a note. "As risk appetite continues to recover, the JPY has been further shunned at the expense of the NZD and AUD."

China is scheduled to release data on imports, exports and its trade balance today.

In New Zealand, figures are due on credit and debit card spending for January while Australia has the Westpac consumer confidence index for February.

The New Zealand dollar was little changed at 92.11 Australian cents from 92.09 cents yesterday. A report showing an improvement in Australian January business confidence and conditions yesterday should continue support for the Australian dollar and increase resistance to further moves higher for the cross rate, ANZ senior economist Mark Smith and senior FX strategist Sam Tuck said in a note.

The local currency edged up to 50.63 British pence from 50.54 pence yesterday ahead of the Bank of England's quarterly inflation report tonight.

The kiwi touched a three-week high of 61.11 euro cents this morning and was trading at 61.05 cents at 8am from 60.73 cents yesterday ahead of a speech by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and a report on European industrial production. The trade-weighted index advanced to 78.41 from 78.08 yesterday.

(BusinessDesk)

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NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7726 -0.0021 -0.27%
AUD 0.9501 -0.0003 -0.03%
EUR 0.6318 -0.0018 -0.28%
GBP 0.4958 0.0001 0.02%
HKD 5.9920 -0.0153 -0.25%
JPY 92.7820 0.1980 0.21%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1195.4 -2.890 2014-12-19T00:
Oil Brent 61.4 1.580 2014-12-19T00:
Oil Nymex 57.1 2.910 2014-12-19T00:
Silver Index 16.0 0.096 2014-12-19T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5541.7 5560.3 5541.7 0.12%
NASDAQ 4759.0 4781.9 4765.4 0.34%
DAX 9827.3 9924.0 9787.0 0.81%
DJI 17812.2 17962.8 17804.8 0.87%
FTSE 6545.3 6620.9 6545.3 0.48%
HKSE 23423.3 23495.6 23408.6 0.15%
NI225 17685.5 17692.6 17621.4 0.08%