The New Zealand dollar advanced as a gain in the price of crude oil lifted sentiment for commodity-linked currencies.

The kiwi rose to 68.27 US cents at 8am in Wellington, from 68.09 cents at 5pm yesterday. The trade-weighted index edged up to 72.22 from 72.15 yesterday.

Oil prices rose 5 percent, notching up their biggest advance in three weeks, after data from the Energy Information Administration showed US crude oil stockpiles unexpectedly dropped by 4.9 million barrels last week. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected inventories to hit record highs for an eighth straight week. The CRB Index, which measures a basket of global commodities, advanced, buoyed by gains in oil, nickel and some agricultural commodities while gold and silver fell on reduced safe-haven demand.

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"Risk sentiment improved last night, with oil surging, equities increasing, and global yields higher," ANZ Bank New Zealand senior economist Sharon Zollner and senior foreign exchange strategist Sam Tuck said in a note. "This helped to lift NZD/USD."


In New Zealand today, Reserve Bank of New Zealand deputy governor Geoff Bascand is scheduled to give a speech about New Zealand's labour market in Dunedin at midday.

The New Zealand dollar advanced to 4.4225 yuan from 4.4088 yuan yesterday, and increased to 48.35 British pence from 48.06 pence. It slipped to 89.75 Australian cents from 90.05 cents, fell to 74.92 yen from 75.15 yen, and was little changed at 59.88 euro cents from 59.86 cents.