The New Zealand dollar fell on a growing realisation that coronavirus will have a far longer impact than the previously hoped for short, sharp shock to the economy.

The kiwi was trading at 62.54 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 62.90 cents at the same time yesterday. The trade-weighted index was at 70.03 points from 70.48.

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The domestic currency has fallen from a high at 67.55 US cents on December 31, according Refinitive data, and is now at its lowest levels since October.

Martin Rudings, an adviser at OMF, said the market is waiting for the World Health Organisation to officially declare the covid-19 strain of coronavirus a pandemic.


WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus said earlier today that the outbreak had reached a "decisive point" with "pandemic potential."

The latest figures show more than 83,000 people have been infected with the virus, deaths are approaching 3,000 and cases have been reported in 54 countries.

Of particular note today, was the news that a woman in Japan, who had recovered from the disease, has tested positive again, heightening concerns about how fast the virus is spreading.

"It looks like there's a lot more downside in equities – nothing's supporting earnings going forward and supply chains have been broken," Rudings said.

"I can't see anybody stepping in to stop the decline in equities – there's just too many people who are long," he said.

"There's a realisation that this is likely to be long-lasting – optimism has gone out the door. It's a realisation of the facts as they come in. You can't deny them."

New Zealand may have its first case – the Ministry of Health has said test results that may confirm this should be available later today.

The person suspected of being infected travelled to New Zealand earlier this week from Iran where at least 26 people have died from the virus and where several high-profile officials are among the hundreds infected.


The New Zealand dollar was at 95.64 Australian cents from 95.09 cents at 5pm yesterday. It was at 48.57 British pence from 48.67, at 56.91 euro cents from 57.67, at 68.27 yen from 69.34 and at 4.3840 Chinese yuan from 4.4143.

The two-year swap rate eased to a bid price of 0.8452 per cent from 0.9457 yesterday while 10-year swaps fell to 1.1800 per cent from 1.2450.