20 Mar 2009

NZ dollar rises as US dollar falls

8:31 am on 20 March 2009

The New Zealand dollar rose by nearly 3 cents in the past 24 hours, to almost 56 US cents.

The kiwi rose by 1.5 cents to a two-month high after the US Federal Reserve decided on Wednesday (local time) to pump an extra $US1 2 trillion into the financial system.

That included purchases of $US300 billion worth of US Treasury bonds - the first time the Fed has done that since the 1960s.

The US dollar has fallen against all major currencies. It is down by fell 3.8% against the euro and by 3.6% against the pound. The BBC reports it also declined against the yen, the Norwegian krone, the Australian dollar and the Brazilian real.

The New Zealand dollar's rise continued on Thursday night. At 6.30am on Friday, it was trading at 55.83 US cents.

ANZ National Bank chief economist Cameron Bagrie says the fed's move has wider implications for New Zealand markets at a time when the country needs a weaker currency to absorb shocks from the global financial crisis.

Further cut in OCR expected

Mr Bagrie now expects the Official Cash Rate to drop to 2% - 50 basis points further than the Reserve Bank indicated in its latest review issued on 12 March.

At 8.20am on Friday: the New Zealand dollar was trading at 54.38 US cents, 80.29 Australian cents, 38.12 pence, 52.22 yen and 0.4035 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 54.36.