The New Zealand dollar was little changed and investors continue to hang on the headlines about the spread of the coronavirus whose economic impact is still unknowable.

The kiwi was trading at 64.29 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 64.33 cents at the same time on Friday and from last week's close at 64.30 cents in New York on Friday. The trade-weighted index was at 71.37 points from 71.42.

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The currency was temporarily buoyed by an upbeat performance of services survey released this morning, which took it to the day's high at 64.47 US cents.

The PSI for January rose to a seasonally adjusted 57.1 points, up five points from December and the highest since March 2018, boosted by new orders. A reading above 50 points indicates expansion.


"It was pretty upbeat but it was for January and I don't know how much of the coronavirus story was captured by that," said Mike Shirley, a dealer at Kiwibank.

He noted the currency had traded a 20-point range all day, that Monday's are traditionally light trading days as we await other, larger markets opening, and that today was particularly quiet because the US will be closed for the Presidents' Day holiday. Canada's various provinces also have public holidays.

In the meantime, those in the market are just watching headlines, Shirley said.

A typical headline was issued shortly after 4pm that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expects the economy to grow by 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent in 2020 and that the impact of the coronavirus will be temporary only.

Ardern said Treasury had previously forecast growth of 2.2 per cent to 2.8 per cent but has reduced its forecast to account for the impact of the coronavirus.

"That is a headline, but it's not gaining any traction because there's nothing new or surprising about that," Shirley said.

"Until we get something that's overtly positive or overtly negative" the market is likely to continue treading water, he said.

Various other economists have tentatively estimated the virus will chop about 0.5 per cent off March-quarter growth.


To date, the virus has killed more than 1,700 people with 71,000 cases globally. The vast majority are in China's Hubei province where the virus was first detected.

The New Zealand dollar was at 95.61 Australian cents from 95.69 cents at 5pm on Friday. It was at 49.29 British pence from 49.32, at 59.33 euro cents from 59.38, at 70.61 yen from 70.64 and at 4.4857 Chinese yuan from 4.4903.

The two-year swap rate eased to a bid price of 1.1110 per cent from 1.1309 on Friday while 10-year swaps fell to 1.4800 per cent from 1.5000.