The New Zealand dollar extended its gains against the pound on resignations from British PM Theresa May's government and may advance against the US dollar in the face of increased bets against the kiwi currency.
The kiwi dollar rose to 51.70 British pence as at 5pm in Wellington from 51.42 pence late yesterday. The kiwi increased to 68.45 US cents from 68.39 cents yesterday.
The British pound weakened after UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson became the latest minister to resign from Theresa May's Conservative government over her Brexit plans.
In a letter to May, published in the Guardian, Johnson said her plan would see Britain become a "colony" of Europe and that the prospects of an open, outward-looking global economy were fading. "That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt."
His departure follows the resignation of former Brexit minister David Davis and junior Brexit minister Steve Baker and undermines May's grip on power just nine months out from the official date for Britain to leave the EU.
Much of the gains against the pound happened overnight and trading in Asia has been relatively subdued, said Tim Kelleher, head of institutional foreign exchange sales at ASB Bank. He said speculative short positions (for the kiwi to decline against the greenback) are the largest since 2004 based on futures market data "and it would be hard for the kiwi to go a lot lower."
Short positions are bets that a currency will decline.
The New Zealand dollar didn't move much after figures showed retail spending on electronic cards rose across all industries for the first time in seven months in June.
Seasonally adjusted retail spending on credit and debit cards rose 0.8 per cent in June following a 0.6 per cent lift in May, Stats New Zealand said. Core retail spending, which excludes vehicle-related industries, rose 0.6 per cent in June, matching the increase in May.
The kiwi traded at 4.5190 yuan, little changed from the start of the day and down from 4.5268 yuan late yesterday. Figures today showed China's producer inflation rose a faster-than-expected 4.7 percent in June from a year earlier while consumer prices rose 1.9 per cent year-on-year, meeting forecasts.
The kiwi traded at 91.63 Australian cents from 91.65 cents yesterday. It rose to 76.07 yen from 75.52 yen and gained to 58.29 euro cents from 58.14 cents. The trade-weighted index traded at 72.85 from 72.78.
New Zealand's two-year swap rate rose 1 basis point to 2.18 per cent and 10-year swaps were unchanged at 3.03 percent.