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NZ dollar hovers under 93 Australian cents, touches fresh five-year high overnight

Tina Morrison
Wed, 18 Dec 2013

The New Zealand dollar hovered under 93 Australian cents in overnight trading, touching a new five-year high of 92.96 cents early this morning as reports continue to underline the divergence between the neighbouring economies.

The kiwi was trading at 92.82 Australian cents at 8am in Wellington, from 92.60 cents at 5pm yesterday. The local currency slipped to 82.61 US cents from 82.80 cents yesterday.

The New Zealand dollar has climbed 17 percent against the Australian dollar so far this year as a strengthening New Zealand economy contrasts with a slowdown in Australia amid waning mining investment. Data in New Zealand today is expected to show the nation's current account deficit narrowed in the third quarter, while in Australia Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens is likely to talk down the value of his currency in testimony to parliament.

"A better current account position seems unlikely to clip the wings of NZD/AUD heading into year-end," Carrick Lucas, strategist at ANZ New Zealand, said in a note. "New Zealand's economy is booming, our government finances are in better shape and rate hikes are likely from March."

Reports yesterday showed Australia was headed for bigger budget deficits while New Zealand planned to pull back on its borrowing requirements and forecast a bigger surplus for 2015 and beyond.

The local currency will probably trade between 92.40 Australian cents and 93.20 cents today, Lucas said. The kiwi still needs more upward momentum to reach beyond its high of 93.94 Australian cents on Oct. 10, 2008.

Further underpinning the kiwi against the Aussie, the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction this morning showed dairy product prices held at elevated levels, with rennet casein rising to its second straight record while whole milk powder fell.

New Zealand's current account report is scheduled for release at 10:45am while the latest ANZ Business Confidence survey for December is due at 1pm.

Currency markets will be looking ahead to the outcome of the Federal Reserve's latest two-day meeting at 8am New Zealand time tomorrow amid speculation the Fed may start a modest tapering of its US$85 billion a month bond-buying programme. The chances of the Fed starting to taper this month or next have increased after a run of upbeat data, although a majority of economists polled by Reuters still expect the scaling back to come in March.

The kiwi will probably trade between 82.10 US cents today and 82.80 cents, according to ANZ's Lucas.

The New Zealand dollar slipped to 60 euro cents from 60.14 cents yesterday and was little changed at 50.76 British pence. The local currency weakened to 84.78 yen from 85.24 yesterday. The trade-weighted index dropped to 77.85 from 77.99 yesterday.


Tina Morrison
Wed, 18 Dec 2013
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NZ dollar hovers under 93 Australian cents, touches fresh five-year high overnight