NZ dollar jumps to 16-month high on gain in dairy prices, weak US data

By Jonathan Underhill

The kiwi rose to 74.12 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 73.16 cents.  Photo / File
The kiwi rose to 74.12 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 73.16 cents. Photo / File

The New Zealand dollar surged to a 16-month high after prices rose at the latest GlobaldairyTrade auction and data showed growth in the US services sector was weaker than expected.

The kiwi rose to 74.12 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 73.16 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index climbed to 78.38 from 77.77, to be well above the 76 average level the Reserve Bank has projected for the third quarter.

The GDT price index climbed 7.7 percent at the latest dairy products auction, adding to expectations that a worldwide glut is easing. Whole milk powder increased 3.7 percent to US$2,793 a tonne, the highest since October last year.

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The rebound in dairy prices adds to positive sentiment for the kiwi dollar, which offers a reasonably attractive yield in a world where many central banks have interest rates that are near zero or negative.

"Global milk supply has been tightening more quickly in recent months prompting buyers into action," said Con Williams, agri economist at ANZ Bank New Zealand. "Where to from here will crucially depend on new season milk volumes from New Zealand and how demand holds up in the face of higher prices."

The kiwi dollar was also helped by a weaker US dollar, after the US non-manufacturing ISM composite index fell more than expected to 51.4 from 55.5, a seven-month low, suggesting the services sector in the world's biggest economy isn't as robust as economists had thought.

The kiwi rose to 96.42 Australian cents from 95.92 cents, slipped to 75.63 yen from 75.82 yen and rose to 4.9454 yuan from 4.8878 yuan. It gained to 65.85 euro cents from 65.65 cents and rose to 55.19 British pence from 54.94 pence.

- BusinessDesk

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