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NZ dollar edges higher before US election

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/11/2016
Hillary Clinton  responds to a question during the town hall debate at Washington University. © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Hillary Clinton responds to a question during the town hall debate at Washington University.

The New Zealand dollar edged higher against the greenback as Hillary Clinton's lead in polling ahead of the US presidential election bolstered investor sentiment in the tightly contested race.

The kiwi increased to 73.22 US cents from 73.15 cents on Monday, and the trade-weighted index gained to 78.57 from 78.48.

Clinton held a three-point lead over rival Republican candidate Donald Trump in the final Bloomberg Politics national poll ahead of the November 8 vote after the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it has no reason to pursue criminal charges against the Democrat nominee.

That boosted investor optimism, which has been spooked by the prospect of a Trump presidency , with the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, known as Wall Street's fear gauge, dropping from a four-week high.

"The US goes to the polls tonight, with results expected to dribble out from early tomorrow afternoon," BNZ's market strategist Kymberly Martin said.

"A convincing Clinton win would likely see a further rebound in risk appetite, and the NZD supported. Alternative outcomes (unclear result or Trump victory) would likely result in the more pronounced market response. Risk appetite would be damaged and the NZD under pressure."

The outcome of the US election will be weighing on New Zealand's Reserve Bank which will make its final policy review of the year on Thursday.

Governor Graeme Wheeler is expected to cut the official cash rate a quarter-point to a new record-low 1.75 per cent, though strength in recent economic data releases has prompted bank economists to view that as the end of the easing cycle.

The local currency fell to 94.90 Australian cents from 95.36 cents, gained to 76.46 yen from 76.26 yen, it increased to 66.32 euro cents from 66.06 cents, advanced to 59.05 British pence from 58.73 pence and was little changed at 4.9572 Chinese yuan from 4.9570 yuan.

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