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NZ dollar holds after US jobs data

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/04/2016 Tina Morrison

The New Zealand dollar held just under 69 US cents as key US employment data failed to change investor views on the outlook for interest rates in the world's largest economy.

The kiwi was at 68.88 US cents at 8am in Wellington, from 68.98 cents at the New York close and 68.96 cents on Friday. The trade-weighted index edged lower to 72.74 from 72.86 on Friday.

Economic data released in the US on Friday showed the country added 215,000 non-farm payrolls last month, while the unemployment rate rose to 5 per cent from an eight-year low of 4.9 per cent.

The report, which is closely watched by the Federal Reserve, reinforced investor views that chair Janet Yellen will continue to proceed with caution when mulling future interest rate hikes, keeping currency rates relatively unchanged.

"That was not enough to stir the market, with the data showing another 'goldilocks'-like report, and broadly in line with expectations - healthy employment growth, but modest wage inflation," BNZ's Jason Wong said.

"The data served to impress the market with Yellen's observations that there was probably more slack in the labour market than the headline unemployment rate suggested and the Fed's 'proceed with caution' approach to rate hikes was likely to remain."

The local currency slipped to 89.78 Australian cents from 90.13 cents on Friday ahead of the publication of February retail sales and building approvals data.

The kiwi slid to 60.44 euro cents from 60.60 cents on Friday, and declined to 76.89 yen from 77.43 yen. It advanced to 48.39 British pence from 48.10 pence on Friday, and increased to 4.4618 yuan from 4.4581 yuan. Chinese markets are closed on Monday.

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