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Kiwi steady as US holidays

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/02/2017 Jonathan Underhill
New Zealand coin is arranged for a photograph in Wellington, New Zealand © Mark Coote New Zealand coin is arranged for a photograph in Wellington, New Zealand

The New Zealand dollar is little changed with little impetus with the United States on holiday, and may decline if dairy prices fall at the GlobalDairyTrade auction and expectations firm for interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

The kiwi traded at US71.82 cents as at 8am on Tuesday in Wellington from US71.75c late Mondday. The trade-weighted index was at 78.22 from 78.15.

Fed chair Janet Yellen has indicated a rate hike could come as soon as next month and the market is awaiting the minutes of the last Federal Open Market Committee this week for further detail of policymakers' thinking.

In New Zealand, Finance Minister Steven Joyce is scheduled to talk at lunchtime in Wellington and the GlobalDairyTrade auction overnight may deliver a 3 per cent decline for whole milk powder, based on the NZX dairy futures.

"The Fed's tightening cycle plus US fiscal expansion should maintain upside pressure on US interest rates and the US dollar, pushing NZD/USD down to 0.7000 or lower," said Westpc's Imre Speizer.

"Granted, the NZ economy is strong and dairy prices have risen, but these forces are subservient to the US dollar's trend."

The Reserve Bank has kept its official cash rate at a record low 1.75 per cent and didn't signal any rate increases until mid-2019. Economists are expecting the central bank to lift rates at some point in 2018. The New Zealand dollar has traded in a range of US71.32c to US72.42c in the past two weeks.

On Tuesday morning, the local dollar slipped to 57.64 British pence from 57.78p on Monday. It traded at 67.67 euro cents from 67.61c, was at 81.27 yen versus 81.16 yen and at 4.9383 yuan from 4.9264 yuan. It was at 93.47 Australian cents from A93.48c.

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