The New Zealand dollar fell against its Australian counterpart amid rising metals prices but was little changed against other currencies as investors await fresh signals on its direction.

The kiwi was trading at 94.40 Australian cents at 5pm in Wellington from 94.53 at 7:45am.

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It has moved a long way since late March when the New Zealand central bank changed its neutral stance to saying the next move in its official cash rate will probably be down. Just ahead of that announcement, the kiwi had been trading at 96.91 Australian cents.

Today, the kiwi was trading at 67.45 US cents from 67.41 while the trade-weighted index was at 73.14 points from 73.12.


Tim Kelleher, head of institutional foreign exchange sales at ASB Bank, says the Australian dollar has been buoyed by higher iron ore prices. The Australian budget last week was based on iron ore fetching US$55 a tonne and it's currently trading at US$95, he says.

"Things in Australia aren't looking as bad as we think they are, apart from the housing market. It means the Reserve Bank of Australia can be a little bit patient." In contrast to the RBNZ, the RBA's statement on monetary policy last week maintained its neutral stance.

In the immediate future, the market is awaiting a speech by RBA deputy governor Guy Debelle tomorrow and the minutes of the Federal Reserve's last Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday in the US.

"There's a lack of volatility in the foreign exchange market," Kelleher says, adding that the volatile interest rates market is making up for that.

The New Zealand two-year swap rate rose to 1.6491 per cent from 1.6279 yesterday while the 10-year swap rate climbed to 2.2525 per cent from 2.2200.

Kelleher says the market has priced in two OCR cuts this year, but less than a 50 percent chance of a cut in May – ASB is predicting a May OCR cut.

The New Zealand dollar was at 51.59 British pence from 51.58, at 59.88 euro cents from 59.83, at 75.12 Japanese yen from 75.14 yen and at 4.5277 Chinese yuan from 4.5264.