The New Zealand dollar fell in a see-saw day against the Aussie after Australian trade data, a central bank statement and ongoing jitters about North Korea's military ambitions.
The kiwi was trading at 90.01 Australian cents as at 5pm from 90.18 Australian cents as at 8am and from 90.08 cents late yesterday. It was at 71.69 US cents from 71.73 cents yesterday.
It initially dipped after data showed that while Australian's current account deficit widened it managed to ship more goods overall in an unexpected boost to economic growth. However, it recovered some of its losses when the Aussie fell harder than the kiwi on renewed jitters about North Korea.
South Korea's Asia Business Daily, citing an unidentified source, reported that North Korea had been spotted moving a rocket that appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) towards its west coast, Reuters said. Meanwhile, Dow Jones Newswires reported Japan is planning for a possible mass evacuation of the nearly 60,000 Japanese citizens currently living in or visiting South Korea.
"It's been a bit of a roller coaster for the kiwi," said ANZ senior economist Phil Borkin. "Strong Aussie numbers lead people to revise their 2Q GDP forecasts," with the data due tomorrow. That helped the Australian dollar. "Then, a few headlines out of North Korea saw us right back up," he said. He said it was not clear why the kiwi fared better than the Aussie in the risk-off environment.
It eased when the Reserve Bank of Australia kept rates on hold at a record low 1.5 per cent for the thirteenth consecutive month and Governor Philip Lowe remained upbeat about the jobs market. However, it pared those losses as the RBA also pointed to ongoing weakness in wages growth and the potential for soft inflation outcomes should the weak growth continue.
"There was a bit of volatility as the statement was absorbed, but NZD effectively little changed. Overall, there was no real change in tone within the statement," said Borkin.
The kiwi was trading at 78.39 yen from 78.76 yen late yesterday as the yen continued to benefit from safe-haven demand The trade-weighted index was at 74.93 from 75.03 late yesterday. It declined to 60.20 euro cents from 60.36 cents and was at 55.42 British pence from 55.37 pence. The kiwi traded at 4.6854 yuan from 4.6975 yuan.
The two-year swap rate rose 1 basis point to 2.15 per cent while the 10-year swaps rose 3 basis points to 3.11 per cent.