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18 Feb 2018 8:34
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  •   Home > News > Business

    NZD gains on stronger US inflation data

    The New Zealand dollar rose as the market digested stronger-than-expected US inflation data.

    The New Zealand dollar rose as the market digested stronger-than-expected US inflation data and weaker American retail sales.

    The figures came after data showed a modest increase in NZ food prices while a survey showed a lift in inflation expectations.

    The kiwi gained to 73.65 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from US73.31c late on Wednesday.

    The trade-weighted index increased to 75.37 from 75.10.

    The New Zealand dollar initially tumbled to as low as US72.38c after the US CPI data, which showed the core measure excluding food and energy was 0.3 per cent in the month and 1.8 per cent in the year, beating forecasts of 0.2 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively.

    However, some economists said part of the lift was from elements that wouldn't stay strong.

    Other figures showed US retail sales excluding autos and fuel fell 0.2 per cent last month against expectations of a 0.3 per cent gain.

    "US CPI data were stronger than expected, however the positive impact on the USD quickly faded," Bank of New Zealand currency strategist Jason Wong said.

    "Further pondering over the impact of the US inflation data is likely to be the key driver of markets."

    The kiwi gained on Wednesday after the Reserve Bank's March quarter survey showed firms lifted their two-year inflation expectations to 2.11 per cent from 2.02 per cent in the prior period, while one-year inflation expectations remained steady at 1.86 per cent.

    The central bank has signalled it will keep the official cash rate at a record low 1.75 per cent until the latter half of next year at the earliest but does keep a close eye on the expectations as they have an impact on wage and pricing setting behaviour.

    Earlier, government figures showed the food price index gained at a 0.8 per cent annual pace last month, the smallest yearly increase since April 2017.

    The Real Estate Institute's house sales figures for January are due out on Thursday and traders will also be keeping watch on labour market data in Australia.

    The kiwi gained to 93.04 Australian cents from A92.93c and traded at 52.60 British pence from 52.66 pence.

    It traded at 59.21 euro cents from 59.16 euro cents and rose to 4.6709 yuan from 4.6425 yuan.

    The kiwi advanced to 78.79 yen from 78.34 yen.


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