The New Zealand dollar rose in local trading, as a lack of liquidity amped up the gains from better US data overnight. The kiwi is set to end the year little changed, belying its surge to a post-float high in August.
The New Zealand dollar traded at 77.25 US cents at 4pm in Wellington, up 77.04 US cents at the start of the day and from 76.92 cents in late trading yesterday. The trade-weighted index rose to 69.19 from 69.07 this morning and from 69.01 yesterday.
The local currency extended its gains following better-than-expected US economic figures and an Italian bond auction that was seen as successful even though less was sold than targeted.
The kiwi didn't move much after the HSBC Purchasing Manager's Index for China, which provides a heads-up to that nation's factory output, climbed to 48.7 this month from 47.7 in November - still below the reading of 50 that divides a contraction from expansion.
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"The kiwi is a star performer on the day, with risk currencies moving up," said Chris Weston of IG Markets. The moves have been exaggerated by "the lack of liquidity," he said.
The kiwi climbed to as high as 88.40 US cents on Aug. 1 as the US Congress argued over lifting its debt ceiling and has beem on a weakening trend since, as concern grew that Europe's sovereign debt crisis will choke off global growth.
The kiwi dollar was recently at 59.65 euro cents from 59.51 cents this morning and from 59.46 cents yesterday.
It rose to 59.94 yen from 59.81 yen earlier and 59.79 yen yesterday. It traded at 50.13 British pence, up from 49.77 pence yesterday and was little changed at 76.11 Australian cents.