The New Zealand dollar fell ahead of minutes of the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting and as investors weighed the competing forces of a robust local economy and optimism about the outlook for the US.

The kiwi traded at 71.84 US cents as at 8am in Wellington, little changed from late New York trading on Friday and from 72.04 cents in Wellington at the end of last week. The trade-weighted index was at 78.26 from 78.35 in New York.

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The Fed minutes come after chair Janet Yellen's testimony to Congress last week in which she said the central bank shouldn't wait too long to raise interest rates, and hinted it could come as soon as March. US markets are closed for the Presidents Day holiday on Monday. Locally, traders are awaiting the BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of services index and producer prices for the fourth quarter in what is otherwise a relatively quiet day for economics while being the peak week for corporate earnings.

The kiwi is "still caught in the cross-fire of US dollar support and the same towards the New Zealand economy," said Cameron Bagrie, chief economist at ANZ Bank New Zealand, in a note.


The local dollar traded at 57.82 British pence, little changed from New York and up from 57.61 pence in Wellington on Friday after figures showed UK retail sales ex-auto fell 0.2 percent in January against expectations of a 0.7 percent gain. The kiwi traded at 67.70 euro cents from 67.67 cents in New York and from 67.47 cents in Wellington on Friday.

The kiwi was little changed from Friday in New York at 81.06 yen and was down from 81.61 yen in Wellington at the end of last week. The kiwi traded at 4.9311 yuan from 4.9304 yuan in New York on Friday and traded at 93.53 Australian cents from 93.56 cents last week.