The New Zealand dollar was little changed against the greenback as uncertainty about US president-elect Donald Trump's incoming administration has investors wary about what the new year will bring.

The kiwi traded at 69.27 US cents as at 5pm in Wellington from 69.16 cents at 8am and 69.14 cents yesterday.

The trade-weighted index edged up to 77.41 from 77.26 yesterday. Trump has stoked concerns about a stand-off with China at the same time as relations between the US and Israel deteriorate.

The president-elect's jibes at outgoing president Barack Obama over Twitter have prompted investors to book profits ahead of the end of the year.


On trade, Trump has been questioning US support for Beijing's one-China policy in relation to Taiwan, threatening to impose tough trade barriers to imports from the world's second-biggest economy, and appointing China critic Peter Navarro to head the White House Trade Council.

"As we move through January those kinds of pressure points will probably come to the fore - that's something that's been weighing on the Aussie and to a lesser extent the New Zealand dollar," said Robert Rennie, chief currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp in Sydney.

"I tend to expect to a bit of strength in the New Zealand and Aussie dollars into this weekend and next week as market books a bit of profit."

Rennie expects the kiwi dollar could rise as high as 70 US cents over the next week, while the Australian dollar may rise to 73 cents, due to strong commodity prices.

The kiwi dipped briefly after a 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck near Seddon in the upper South Island and was followed soon after by a 4.7 magnitude aftershock. New Zealand's two-year swap rate was unchanged at 2.5 percent, and 10-year swaps at 3.58 percent.

Westpac's Rennie said bond yields have softened from the "extreme levels" of mid-December, as investors book profits, but also as bond markets reach an attractive level for investors and take "a wee bit of bid tone out of the US dollar".

The local currency rose to 4.8180 Chinese yuan from 4.8087 yuan yesterday after the People's Bank of China was forced to scotch reports the currency crossed the 7 yuan per US dollar level, seen as a psychological barrier.

The prospect of a weaker Chinese economy had been weighing more heavily on Australian dollar in recent days than the kiwi, with New Zealand's currency trading at 96.16 Australian cents from 96 cents yesterday.


The kiwi increased to 66.33 euro cents from 66.04 cents yesterday and gained to 56.55 British pence from 56.26 pence. It fell to 80.87 yen from 81.31 yen.