You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

NZ dollar steady after jobs data decline

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/02/2017 Jonathan Underhill

The New Zealand dollar was little changed, having dropped on Wednesday after an unexpected rise in the jobless rate, while the US dollar benefited from stronger-than-expected jobs and manufacturing data.

The New Zealand dollar traded at 72.77 US cents as at 8.30am in Wellington from 72.62 cents. It fell from 73.31 cents before the employment report. The trade-weighted index was at 79.31 from 79.20.

The kiwi declined on Wednesday after government figures showed the unemployment rate rose to 5.2 per cent in the fourth quarter against expectations of a drop to 4.8 per cent.

That became the focus rather than more positive measures such as the participation rate rising to a record 70.5 per cent.

In the US, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged as expected while noting improving consumer and business sentiment, and a relatively benign unemployment rate of 4.7 per cent, keeping intact market expectations of rate hikes this year.

"Economic data releases have been a key driver of currencies over the past 24 hours, with NZ labour market data driving the NZD lower, and strong releases driving the USD and GBP higher," said BNZ's Jason Wong.

"The Fed will want to keep its options open as it looks to raise rates three times this year. The messaging of a gradual tightening pace, dependent on upcoming data, should prevail."

Helping boost the prospects for the greenback were the ISM manufacturing report for January with a reading of 56 against expectations of 55, and the ADP private sector employment figures, which showed 246,000 jobs added in January from 153,000 in December.

In New Zealand, traders will be watching for a speech by Prime Minister Bill English at lunchtime, after he set the election date for September 23 and said the economy would be a key focus of his campaign for re-election.

The kiwi edged up to 5.0084 yuan from 4.9939 yuan, gained to 67.54 euro cents from 67.28 cents, it fell to 57.49 British pence from 57.75 pence and rose to 82.37 yen from 82.18 yen.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon