The New Zealand dollar held above 69 US cents after a mixed US employment report kept expectations for a Federal Reserve rate hike intact, while domestically the Reserve Bank's Thursday meeting is coming into focus.
The kiwi traded at 69.01 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 69.05 cents on Friday in New York, down from 69.20 cents at the close of local trading last week. The trade-weighted index was little changed at 73.42 from 73.48 last week.
US non-farm payrolls showed the world's biggest economy added 261,000 jobs in October, fewer than expected, but upward revisions to earlier periods showed the hurricane impact wasn't as bad as analysts thought. That helped keep alive expectations the Fed will raise the federal funds rate in December as the world's biggest central bank continues to move to more normal policy. Meantime, New Zealand's Reserve Bank is expected to keep the official cash rate at 1.75 per cent on Thursday, although there will be a focus on the forecasts which will have to start accounting for the new government's policies and the inflationary effects of a weaker currency.
"Focus turns to Thursday's MPS (monetary policy statement), a more important statement than usual in our view. It'll be hard for the bank to ignore the number of indicators that point to rising inflationary pressure," Bank of New Zealand currency strategist Jason Wong said in a note. "The balance of risk is pointing to higher short-dated swap rates and NZD by the end of the week in the absence of any significant global forces."
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Local data today include the Reserve Bank's survey of inflation expectations and the ANZ commodity price index.
The kiwi traded at 4.5815 Chinese yuan from 4.5822 yuan last week after People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan wrote in an article over the weekend that the risks to China's financial system are increasing and that the government should continue to open market access, tighten regulations, and reduce restrictions on foreign financial institutions.
The local currency slipped to 90.07 Australian cents from 90.24 cents last week and traded at 78.69 yen from 78.76 yen. It was little changed at 52.76 British pence from 52.80 pence, and traded at 59.34 euro cents from 59.47 cents.