The New Zealand dollar fell after comments from the Reserve Bank and its Australian counterpart which the market took to suggest both are more dovish than previously thought.

The kiwi was trading at 63.90 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 64.04 at 8am. The trade-weighted index was at 70.66 from 70.75.

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First came a speech by Reserve Bank of New Zealand assistant governor Christian Hawkesby.

The bank provided no advance notice or speech notes of Hawkesby's comments to a UBS Australia conference, says Mike Shirley, a dealer at Kiwibank.


"It just came out of nowhere," and, while there was nothing new in Hawkesby's comments that he hadn't already said last week in the wake of RBNZ's decision to leave its official cash rate unchanged at 1 per cent, he did reiterate that RBNZ will cut rates again if needed.

"They keep reinforcing this point, that they're prepared to do more," Shirley says.

That started the kiwi's slide and then the RBA minutes from its November 4 meeting revealed that, like RBNZ, they came closer to cutting the cash rate, currently at 0.75 per cent, than the market had realised.

"The board agreed that a case could be made to ease monetary policy at this meeting, but that the most appropriate approach would be to maintain the current stance of monetary policy and to make another full assessment once more evidence of the effects of the earlier monetary easing had become available," the minutes said.

Shirley says the market is now awaiting the results of the latest Global Dairy Trade auction due early tomorrow, New Zealand time, and for the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's latest meeting, due early Thursday, NZ time.

ASB Bank is forecasting a 3 per cent increase in the whole milk powder price, the key price for Fonterra farmers, following a 3.6 per cent increase at the previous auction.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at 94.00 Australian cents from 93.94, was at 49.32 British pence from 49.37, at 57.69 euro cents from 57.78, at 69.40 Japanese yen from 69.52, and at 4.4891 Chinese yuan from 4.4979.

The two-year swap rate edged down to a bid price of 1.1453 per cent from 1.1644 per cent yesterday while the 10-year swaps fell to 1.5025 per cent from 1.5175 per cent.