The New Zealand dollar held yesterday's gains after the Reserve Bank raised its forecast for the country's inflation outlook and brought forward by one quarter the chance of a rate hike while the greenback dipped on renewed uncertainty over US tax reform.
The kiwi traded at 69.60USc as at 8am in Wellington from 69.52USc yesterday. The trade-weighted index was almost unchanged at 73.81 from 73.82 yesterday.
The local currency got a boost from the Reserve Bank's new forecast track for the official cash rate, which brought forward the chance of a hike to June 2019 on a higher inflation track. Acting governor Grant Spencer said the recent decline in the kiwi was welcome and that the currency was now "in the vicinity of a sustainable exchange rate." Meanwhile, the US dollar index fell 0.4% and stocks on Wall Street were down amid reports the US Senate will seek to delay a corporate tax cut by a year in a major tax reform that's a central policy for the White House.
Mr Spencer "noted that the NZ dollar was closer to a sustainable level, in the vicinity of fair value, and this was backed up by the bank projecting a flat TWI at 73.5. It was a refreshingly honest assessment and something we agree with when seen in a medium-term context," Bank of New Zealand currency strategist Jason Wong said in a note. "That the New Zealand dollar didn't rally hard after this comment suggested that traders weren't really in a mood to push the dollar a lot higher, perhaps a reflection of the global backdrop, with commodity currencies not well-liked at present. It suggests a hurdle for the kiwi to push on up from here."
Local data today include October retail spending on electronic cards and September guest nights, which will give an update on how consumer demand and the tourism sector are tracking. Investors will also be watching for an outcome to the revised Trans Pacific Partnership trade and investment pact at the APEC leaders' meeting in Vietnam.
The local currency increased to 4.6192 Chinese yuan from 4.6102 yuan yesterday and traded at 90.60 Australian cents from 90.52 cents. It was little changed at 52.91 British pence from 52.97 pence yesterday and slipped to 59.74 euro cents from 59.97 cents. The kiwi fell to 78.80 yen from 79.26 yen yesterday.
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