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Kiwi edges up vs Aussie on weak data

NZN 8/06/2017 Rebecca Howard

The New Zealand dollar got a slight lift against the Australian dollar on Thursday after weak trade data across the Tasman.

But the kiwi was largely treading water ahead of the European Central Bank meeting, testimony from former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey and the UK election.

The kiwi rose to A95.36c as at 5pm in Wellington from 95.08c late Wednesday, and gained to US71.96c from 71.69c.

Australia posted a seasonally adjusted trade surplus of A$555 million in April, compared with a surplus of A$3.17 billion in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

The figure was lower than analysts' expectations for a surplus of A$2b. The kiwi has been faring better against the Aussie as the local economic outlook is rosier than across the Tasman.

"The trade numbers had a little bit of an impact ... but, we are in a holding pattern right here and right now as there are some big events coming up in the 24 hours,'' said Phil Borkin, an economist at ANZ Bank.

''Markets are just sitting on their hands, waiting to see how that all plays out."

The kiwi continued to hover near a six-week high ahead of the ECB meeting, trading at 63.98 euro cents versus 63.65c Wednesday.

While testimony from the former FBI director has been published, Mr Borkin said Mr Comey's Senate appearance later in the day will garner interest as it will depend on the questioning.

Investors will be watching for any hints US President Donald Trump may have been engaged in obstructing justice, which could trigger an impeachment investigation.

Mr Borkin said, however, the main event will be the UK election. The kiwi traded at 55.55 British pence from 55.59 pence ahead of the overnight vote.

While Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to retain power, her lead over the Labour Party has been narrowing and any negative surprise will weigh on the pound.

The kiwi rose to 78.95 yen from 78.57 yen and increased to 4.8912 yuan from 4.8699 yuan.

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