The New Zealand dollar rose as the nation's relatively robust economy and relatively high interest rates made it a standout as risk appetite abates ahead of today's US presidential debate.

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The kiwi gained to 72.68 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 72.39 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index rose to 77.17 from 76.93.

The Telegraph's poll tracker, which takes an average of the past five polls published on RealClearPolitics, shows Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump running neck and neck in the race for the White House and the debate, expected to be watched by millions of voters, will show how the candidates perform up close.

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In New Zealand, the central bank has projected a quickening pace for the economy, albeit with little inflation, but is still expected to cut interest rates in November.

"Despite the prospect of weaker global risk appetite in more volatile market conditions into year-end, we think that strong domestic factors will remain supportive for the NZD," said Jason Wong, currency strategist at Bank of New Zealand, in a note.

"Investors are also nervous as recent polls put Clinton and Trump neck-and-neck ahead of this afternoon's first US presidential debate."

The kiwi rose to 4.8479 yuan from 4.8263 yuan and climbed to 64.58 euro cents from 64.44 cents. It increased to 56.06 British pence from 55.75 pence and slipped to 72.89 yen from 73.01 yen. The kiwi advanced to 95.13 Australian cents from 94.94 cents.