NZ dollar heads for 1.2% weekly gain as greenback hit by euro strength

The New Zealand dollar is heading for a 1.2 percent weekly, pushing higher against a slumping greenback after minutes from the European Central Bank's December meeting boosted investor expectations it is planning to end its massive stimulus programme.

The kiwi traded at 72.54 US cents as at 5pm from 72.48 US cents at 8am and up from 71.88 cents yesterday. It was at 71.67 US cents last Friday in New York. The trade-weighted index advanced to 75.20 from 74.78 yesterday

The ECB minutes showed officials considered a move "early in the coming year" to further reduce stimulus, assuming economic growth remains strong, which weighed on the US dollar overnight and during Asian trading. The minutes came on the heels of the Bank of Japan trimming its bond-buying scheme this week, which also weighed on the greenback.

The kiwi has benefited from the weaker dollar and from the more upbeat sentiment around global growth, said Martin Rudings, senior dealer foreign exchange at OMF in Wellington. He noted trading is cautious ahead of the US consumer price index data later in the global trading day. "The market is a bit nervous to push it on too much further ahead of CPI in the States," he said. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch forecast the core CPI, which strips out the volatile food and energy categories, will show a monthly gain of 0.2 percent and an annual rise of 1.7 percent.

Rudings said coalition talks in Germany are also on investors' radar. According to Reuters, negotiators vowed to reach a decision by Friday in Europe. If the talks broke down, the uncertainty around the need for a new election would weigh on the euro and the kiwi while the greenback would benefit.

The local currency was little changed at 60.18 euro cents from 60.14 cents yesterday.

The kiwi gained to 4.7010 Chinese yuan from 4.6838 yuan yesterday after the Chinese government quashed speculation it was considering cutting its purchases of US Treasuries.

The kiwi rose to 92.03 Australian cents from 91.37 cents yesterday and advanced to 53.53 British pence from 53.22 pence. It gained to 80.69 yen from 80.29 yen yesterday.

New Zealand's two-year swap rate slipped 1 basis point to 2.19 percent while the 10-year swap was unchanged at 3.19 percent.

(BusinessDesk)

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