8 Oct 2010

NZ dollar eases after overnight surge

12:21 pm on 8 October 2010

The New Zealand dollar surged near 76 US cents overnight, before a stronger greenback led to an easing to about 75 US cents.

The rise in the US dollar came after lower-than-expected unemployment claims in the United States caused investors to question whether the US Federal Reserve will pursue further economic stimulus measures.

Some analysts are also sceptical that plans to buy government bonds by the Fed will really spur more employment, which remains stubbornly above 9%.

At 11.50am on Friday, the kiwi was trading about 75.1 US cents, though it had dropped against the Australian dollar after strong job growth across the Tasman pushed up the exchange rate there.

Dollar moves by Reserve Bank debated

Currency experts are unsure the Reserve Bank will takes steps to bring down the New Zealand dollar, despite signs it will rise even further against its US counterpart.

The kiwi reached 75.5 US cents on Thursday, the highest in almost a year, due to a weakening US dollar.

Rankin Treasury's Derek Rankin is picking the kiwi will reach 76 US cents this year, and as high as 80 US cents early next year, which he says could prompt the Reserve Bank to reluctantly intervene to try and bring the currency down.

But JB Were strategist Bernard Doyle says he would be surprised if the central bank intervened just because the US dollar is falling.

"What we're seeing is the US dollar weakening against all its trading partners." he said.

Mr Doyle is forecasting the kiwi to rise to 77 US cents over the next 12 months, but says it could climb higher if the US Federal Reserve decides to print money to bolster its economy.