The New Zealand dollar is heading for a 0.5 per cent weekly gain, helped by a Reserve Bank statement that was deemed slightly more hawkish than expected.

The kiwi traded at US69.38c at 5pm yesterday, from US69.52c on Thursday and US69.05c a week ago.

The kiwi got a lift from the Reserve Bank's new forecast track for the official cash rate, which brought forward the chance of a hike to June 2019 on a higher inflation track.

Globally, investors are keeping an eye on political developments in Saudi Arabia as "that drama still has a few chapters to it", said Sheldon Slabbert, a trader at CMC Markets.


Concerns about the stability of Saudi Arabia, sparked after the purge of 11 princes and arrests of dozens of other influential figures since last week, are intensifying, according to Reuters.

Comments from Finance Minister Grant Robertson weighed on the kiwi, said Slabbert.

Robertson told Reuters the next central bank governor must be willing to adopt his Government's plan to include employment in the bank's mandate, and he was willing to reject any candidate who was not the "right person".

He told Bloomberg that he plans to expand the Reserve Bank's policy committee by adding three external members, dismissing comments by acting Reserve Bank Governor Grant Spencer that the committee should remain in-house.

The local currency fell to 4.6046 Chinese yuan from 4.6102 yuan and to A90.23c from 90.52c. It dropped to 52.76 British pence from 52.97 pence on Thursday and slipped to 59.54 euro cents from €59.97c. The kiwi fell to 78.66 yen from ¥79.26.