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NZ dollar climbs after weak US CPI figures

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/08/2016 Jonathan Underhill

© Bloomberg The New Zealand dollar climbed after figures showed the US consumer price index was flat last month while the price of whole milk powder jumped to a 10-month high.

The kiwi rose to 72.52 US cents at 5pm in Wellington, from 72.26 cents on Tuesday. The trade-weighted index advanced to 76.68 from 76.07.

The US Department of Labor's CPI measure showed no change for July, in line with forecasts but still underlining how far the Federal Reserve is from achieving its inflation target of 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

That dented sentiment for the greenback although it did find some support after New York Fed president William Dudley said the market had become complacent about the need to lift interest rates.

Meanwhile, whole milk powder, the biggest dairy product by volume that Fonterra sells, jumped 19 per cent to $US2,695 ($NZ3,698.37) a tonne, adding to a 10 per cent gain two weeks ago.

"The kiwi has been resilient in the face of bad news and benefitted from good news," said Mitchell McIntyre, senior corporate FX dealer at NZForex.

Traders are now awaiting the release of the minutes of the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting, due out 6am NZ time Thursday morning.

The kiwi briefly spiked higher after government figures showed the jobless rate fell to 5.1 per cent in the second quarter from a revised 5.2 per cent three months earlier. However, the improvement was complicated by a change in the way Statistics New Zealand measures the labour market to bring the country in line with international practices.

Wednesday's data is likely to be partially discounted due to the methodology changes," said Zoe Wallis, senior economist at Kiwibank.

"While we believe the underlying story is one of employment growth rising, the headline employment number is overstated due to methodology changes."

The data was unlikely to have a material impact on the Reserve Bank's view.

The local currency rose to 94.54 Australian cents from 94.05 cents on Tuesday and increased to 73.14 yen from 72.59 yen. It slipped to 64.37 euro cents from 64.54 cents and dropped to 55.67 British pence from 56 pence. The kiwi rose to 4.8087 Chinese yuan from 4.6954 yuan.

New Zealand's two-year swap rate rose 4 basis points to 1.95 per cent and 10-year swaps rose 4 basis points to 2.39 per cent.

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