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NZ dollar rises on jobs data

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/11/2016 Jonathan Underhill

The New Zealand dollar rose above 73 US cents for the first time in a month after stronger-than-expected labour market data stoked speculation a widely anticipated rate cut by the central bank next week will be the last for now.

The kiwi traded at 72.87 US cents, having earlier reached 73.09 cents, from 72.20 US cents late on Wednesday. The trade-weighted index climbed to 78.21, having touched 78.33, from 77.63.

The US dollar index was little changed after the Federal Reserve kept US interest rates unchanged as expected, by a vote of eight to two, saying it "preferred to wait" for evidence the economy is picking up as it wants.

In New Zealand on Wednesday, figures showed employment grew 1.4 per cent in the third quarter, outpacing the 0.5 per cent gain expected by the market, while the unemployment rate fell to 4.9 per cent, the first time it has been below 5 per cent since December 2008. Wage inflation remained subdued, with an unchanged 0.4 per cent increase in the quarter.

"On the strength of yesterday's domestic data releases the NZD has been the strongest performing currency over the past 24 hours," analysts at HiFX said.

In line with expectations, the Fed kept interest rates unchanged while signalling that they could still hike in December as the economy gathers momentum and inflation picks up."

Also helping boost sentiment for the kiwi, prices soared at the latest dairy auction, with the GDT price index climbing 11.4 per cent. Rising prices were expected because of a drop off in volumes of milk powder on offer.

The kiwi climbed to 95.16 Australian cents from 94.60 cents, it gained to 59.29 British pence from 58.97 pence, rose to 65.68 euro cents from 65.19 cents, lifted to 4.9226 yuan from 4.8813 yuan and increased to 75.37 yen from 74.87 yen.

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