Kiwi tempers gains on RBNZ after S&P links slowing Aust economy to mining peak

The New Zealand dollar pared gains from a more optimistic Reserve Bank review today after rating agency Standard & Poor's joined the dots between a slowing Australian economy and the possible peak of the nation's mining boom.

The kiwi rose to 83.47 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 83.11 cents just before the RBNZ announcement, but was down from as high as 83.67 cents today and 83.71 yesterday. It climbed to 80.31 Australian cents from 79.94 cents yesterday.

Central bank governor Graeme Wheeler held the official cash rate at 2.5 percent as expected, flagging a recovery in New Zealand's economy over the coming year and a reduction in spare capacity which will increase inflation.

The local currency rallied on the news, even after Mr Wheeler called it over-valued and Reserve Bank figures showed the bank had started selling down its New Zealand dollar holdings.

"The statement was more hawkish than many were expecting. Reading between the lines, the bank is pretty happy with the recovery playing out," says Mike Jones, currency strategist at Bank of New Zealand.

Those gains were tempered by a drop in the Australian dollar after Standard & Poor's said the slowing resources sector across the Tasman was weighing on the 'lucky country's' economy. The Australian dollar dropped to $US1.0389 at 5pm in Wellington from $US1.0467 yesterday.

"S&P came out and said the obvious really," Joe Capurso, currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney, says. "That goes to show how much of a slow day it is."

Markets will be watching US employment numbers tomorrow after figures showed growth unexpectedly stalled in the world's biggest economy in the last three months of 2012.

The kiwi fell to 75.87 yen at 5pm in Wellington from 76.04 yen yesterday, and increased to 61.50 euro cents from 61.29 cents. It dipped to 52.80 British pence from 53.13 pence yesterday.

The trade-weighted index declined to 75.06 from 75.29.

(BusinessDesk)

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NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7772 -0.0007 -0.09%
AUD 0.9506 -0.0010 -0.11%
EUR 0.6332 0.0004 0.06%
GBP 0.4972 0.0008 0.16%
HKD 6.0255 -0.0070 -0.12%
JPY 92.7270 0.1820 0.20%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1198.3 8.880 2014-12-18T00:
Oil Brent 59.3 0.110 2014-12-18T00:
Oil Nymex 54.4 -2.250 2014-12-18T00:
Silver Index 15.9 0.006 2014-12-18T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5518.5 5545.0 5518.5 0.17%
NASDAQ 4712.4 4748.4 4644.3 2.24%
DAX 9901.3 9901.3 9811.1 -0.30%
DJI 17367.8 17778.4 17356.9 2.43%
FTSE 6466.0 6521.7 6466.0 0.46%
HKSE 23158.3 23189.6 22832.2 1.25%
NI225 17511.0 17621.4 17210.0 2.39%