The New Zealand dollar jumped to a week high amid concern weak US jobs data could prompt the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of interest rate hikes.
The kiwi touched 67.55 US cents, and was trading at 67.50 cents at 8am in Wellington, from 66.72 cents at 5pm yesterday. The trade-weighted index advanced to 72.84 from 72.36 yesterday.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, touched a week low after a report showed US service sector employment declined in February, raising concern the key US government non-farm payrolls monthly employment report due out today may be weaker than expected, and prompt the Fed to push out its plan for interest rate hikes.
Adding to those concerns, US factory orders also came in slightly weaker than expected and Dallas Fed president Robert Kaplan said the central bank should be patient when it comes to raising interest rates, citing the effect of tighter financial conditions on US economic growth.
"The US dollar is weaker across the board," Bank of New Zealand currency strategist Jason Wong said in a note.
"It feels like trader positioning has been a key driver of currency movements overnight, ahead of tonight's US non-farm payrolls figure."
BNZ's Wong noted the kiwi is now trading near the top of its 65.50 US cent to 67.50 cent range of the past four weeks. He said it has strong resistance at 67.50 US cents and again at 67.75 cents ahead of strong technical resistance around 68.90 cents.
"The US employment figures tonight will determine whether the New Zealand dollar breaks higher or settles back into its trading range," Wong said.
Economists polled by Reuters expect US employers to have added 190,000 jobs last month.
The New Zealand dollar rose to 91.53 Australian cents, from 91.38 cents yesterday ahead of Australian retail sales data today.
The local currency advanced to 61.53 euro cents from 61.44 cents yesterday, gained to 47.64 British pence from 47.38 pence, increased to 76.65 yen from 76.03 yen, and jumped to 4.4086 yuan from 4.3660 yuan