The New Zealand dollar ended off its best levels today after retail sales data came in lower than expected.
The NZ dollar was 69.73USc at 5pm from 70.05USc at 8am and 69.79USc at 5pm yesterday.
It fell from around 70.10USc just before news that retail sales were flat in December. The rise in retail sales in the December quarter of 1% was less than the 1.4% the markets was expecting, according to Reuters.
The weakness in the retail sector came after Real Estate Institute of New Zealand data showed a 17% fall in house sales in January, suggesting the property market recovery was running out of steam.
"This latest data sees us leaning toward a September, rather than June, start to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's tightening cycle," Goldman Sachs JBWere New Zealand economist Philip Borkin said.
TD Securities said the housing data should be treated with caution but on balance New Zealand data in recent weeks had "cooled".
"The NZ dollar remains at 70USc reflecting the complete loss of interest in a near-term interest rate move."
The currency was around 76USc in October 2009 when interest rate expectations were for plus 50 basis points in the first quarter of 2010.
"We recently lowered our mid-year NZ dollar target from 77USc to 72USc," TD Securities said.
The Australian dollar pared some of its gains against the US dollar on Friday, but held ground near a decade high on the euro and advanced to a two-month peak against the NZ dollar.
The NZ dollar was at 78.39Ac at 5pm from 78.58Ac at the same time yesterday.
There is still considerable uncertainty in Europe for investors. The European Union pledged solidarity with Greece, but did not offer anything specific to assist with its debt problems.
The NZ dollar was at €0.5100 at 5pm from 0.5062 at the same time yesterday and was at ¥62.53 from ¥62.72.
The trade weighted index stood at 64.53 at 5pm.