Kiwi jumps after RBNZ eases less aggressively than some expected

11 Aug, 2016 8:26 am

SINGAPORE – The New Zealand dollar surged to its highest level in more than a year on Thursday after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut interest rates as expected, disappointing some who had been betting on more aggressive easing.

The New Zealand dollar rose to as high as $0.7351, its highest level since May 2015. The kiwi later came off that high and was last trading at $0.7287, up 1.4 percent from late US trade on Wednesday.

The kiwi jumped after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a record low 2.0 percent, as widely expected, and indicated at least one more rate cut would be needed.

There was disappointment with the RBNZ’s decision since there had been some speculation that it might cut interest rates by 50 basis points, said Steven Dooley, currency strategist for Western Union Business Solutions in Melbourne.

Moreover, the kiwi is rising on the back of strong investor appetite for higher yields, he added. “At the moment we’re really in a super-charged market when it comes to high-yielding currencies… Everyone’s looking for an opportunity to buy,” Dooley said. Along with the Australian dollar, the kiwi has been buoyed by the allure of its relatively high bond yields.

New Zealand dollar 10-year government bonds have a yield of around 2.1 percent, compared with negative yields in Japan and Germany. The US dollar struggled to gain traction, amid doubts over whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year. The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against a basket of major currencies, last traded at 95.571, holding within sight of a near one-week low of 95.442 set on Wednesday.

Against the yen, the dollar eased 0.1 percent to 101.20 yen, having pulled back from a high of 102.66 yen set on Monday, in the wake of last Friday’s strong US nonfarm payrolls data. The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.1186. Although strong US jobs data released last week gave a boost to the dollar, the greenback has since given back its gains. -Reuters

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