5 Aug 2011

Kiwi weakens further against US currency

5:19 pm on 5 August 2011

The New Zealand dollar has continued to fall against its US counterpart as worries mount that the euro zone debt crisis is spreading.

The sharemarket suffered its worst one-day loss since 2009, ending 3% lower on Friday after heavy losses on Wall Street.

The Kiwi also took a hit, falling about 3 cents against the greenback over the past day. At 5pm on Friday, it was trading at $US83.7 cents.

Around the world, officials have moved to calm markets and ease volatility, with the largest move coming from Tokyo where the government spent an estimated 1 trillion yen to stem the strength of its currency.

Japan's action on Thursday caused the US dollar to strengthen against other currencies, including the Kiwi, which swiftly began its fall from just over US86 cents.

The Japanese intervention came a day after an unexpected cut in interest rates by Switzerland to weaken the franc.

Safe-haven assets like the Swiss franc, the yen and gold have spiked this week on investor fears that governments around the world are planning spending cuts at a time of slowing global economic growth.

Westpac currency market strategist Imre Speizer says that, because of the volatility, the Reserve Bank is now unlikely to raise interest rates in September.

There has been speculation that the weak US economy would prompt the US Federal Reserve to instigate another round of so-called quantitative easing - effectively printing more money.

However, Mr Speizer does not expect the Fed to signal any significant new stimulus at its meeting next week.

He believes the earliest that new quantitative easing would be signalled would be late in August, when central bankers meet at Jackson Hole in the United States.