Kiwi tops 83 US cents and plenty to go, says Westpac's Speizer

Asian technology companies, including Samsung Electronics, get a lift from the iPhone 5 going on sale, lifting stocks across the region. 

BUSINESSDESK: The New Zealand dollar rose above 83 US cents as stockmarkets across Asia rallied with the debut of Apple Inc's latest iPhone model stoking demand for tech stocks, bolstering investors' appetite for higher-yielding, riskier assets.

The kiwi rose to 83.03 US cents at 5pm on Friday in Wellington from 82.86 cents at 8am, and 82.44 cents on Thursday. The trade-weighted index advanced to 73.53 from 73.18 yesterday.

Asian technology companies, including Samsung Electronics, got a lift from the iPhone 5 going on sale, lifting stocks across the region.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6% in afternoon trading, while South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.5% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.8%. The improvement in investment sentiment underpinned gains in risk-sensitive assets, such as the kiwi dollar, which is largely unchanged on the week.

"Risk sentiment is a bit better today than it's been for the last few days," says Imre Speizer, market strategist at Westpac Banking in Auckland. "The kiwi has upward momentum."

He says it may go as high as 84.70 US cents in the coming weeks if investors stay upbeat about the future of the global economy.

Risk sentiment has waxed and waned in the past few weeks after successive quantitative easing programmes from the world's biggest banks supported optimism, while weak manufacturing activity has sapped investors' confidence.

Mr Speizer says the US Federal Reserve's asset-purchase programme is starting to show real improvement in the money supply for the world's biggest economy, though efforts from other central banks have not been as successful.

With little hard economic data on the horizon next week, investors will focus on whether Spain formally seeks a bailout from its eurozone partners, and whether Greece can secure the next tranche of its 130 billion euro rescue fund.

The yield on Greece's benchmark 10-year government bond fell 1.2 basis points and the yield on Spain's equivalent bond fell 3.7 basis points to 5.79%.

The kiwi dollar rose to 63.88 euro cents from 63.39 cents yesterday and gained to 51.05 British pence from 50.88 pence. It rose to 64.86 Japanese yen from 64.39 yen and increased to 79.24 Australian cents from 79.17 cents.