The New Zealand dollar fell further as investors continued their flight to safety in the face of the unknowable extent of the coronavirus crisis.

The kiwi was trading at 65.43 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 66.74 cents 24 hours earlier while the trade-weighted index was at 72.18 points from 72.36.

See live rates for the NZ-US $ below. Click for more information:NzForex Foreign Exchange Transfers

The death toll from the coronavirus in China has now climbed past 100 and those infected have risen to more than 4,500 – the figures this time yesterday were at least 80 dead and nearly 3,000 infected. Some experts suspect the actual numbers are much higher.

Most of the cases are in China, although countries around the world are recording cases, and most of the deaths have been in the province of Hubei where the city of Wuhan is located and where the disease is thought to have originated at a market selling wild animals as meat for human consumption.


No cases have been reported in New Zealand as yet, although Australia has reported five. New Zealand's Prime Minister told a briefing today that there are 53 New Zealanders in Wuhan and 20 have requested consular assistance but officials are not aware any have been infected.

Tim Kelleher, head of foreign exchange sales at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said the mood in financial markets is "generally risk-off. It's just a continuation of what we've seen for the last few days.

"We've seen good selling all day from offshore and buying on the dips."

The cautious mood is likely to persist until people have a better steer on the extent of the crisis, Kelleher said.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at 96.80 Australian cents from 96.58 cents yesterday. It was at 50.11 British pence from 50.36, at 59.37 euro cents from 59.61, at 71.32 yen from 71.86 and at 4.5392 Chinese yuan from 4.5614.

Interest rates are tumbling too, with the two-year swap rate sinking to a bid price of 1.1349 per cent from 1.1700 yesterday, while 10-year swaps fell to 1.4550 per cent from 1.5300.