The New Zealand dollar touched a fresh five-year low as the greenback strengthened on optimism the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates as early as September.

The kiwi touched 68.13 US cents, its lowest level since July 2010, and was trading at 68.46 US cents at 8am in Wellington, from 68.50 cents at 5pm yesterday. The trade-weighted index was little changed at 71.48 from 71.47 yesterday.

The US dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, advanced after upbeat economic data on housing pointed to a revival in the world's largest economy. Comments overnight by Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell that the US economy could be ready for two interest rate increases this year, in September and December, further bolstered investor confidence about the outlook and stoked demand for the greenback.


READ MORE:
The upside to a dropping dollar: Tourism gets a lift
Kiwi's fall could hit retailers but big price hikes for shoppers unlikely
Kiwi dollar is on a downward roll - how far do experts see it falling?

Advertisement

"The US dollar found broad strength," ANZ Bank New Zealand senior economist Sharon Zollner and senior FX strategist Sam Tuck said in a note. "US dollar strength was later extended following comments from Fed Governor Powell that he is forecasting the Fed to hike interest rates twice this year. However, he acknowledged that the outlook remained uncertain and the probability that the Fed commences tightening in September was '50-50'."

ANZ said the kiwi will probably trade between 68.10 US cents and 68.90 cents today.

Traders will be looking tonight to the third revision of US first-quarter gross domestic product data. Economists polled by Reuters expect the first quarter to be revised higher to negative 0.2 per cent from the previous reading of negative 0.7 per cent.

The New Zealand dollar advanced to 61.31 euro cents from 60.76 cents yesterday. The euro weakened on concern concessions offered by Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras would be rejected by some members of his leftist Syriza party.

The local currency slipped to 88.50 Australian cents from 88.88 cents yesterday, gained to 43.52 British pence from 43.42 pence and edged up to 84.82 yen from 84.76 yen.