22 Sep 2011

Kiwi falls to six-week low against US dollar

9:26 pm on 22 September 2011

The New Zealand dollar has fallen to a six-week low, following the release of modest economic growth figures and a gloomy growth prediction from the US Federal Reserve.

The kiwi shed a couple of cents against its American counterpart on Thursday, then rebounded after a higher than expected payout to dairy farmers from New Zealand's biggest company, Fonterra.

But it dipped below US80 cents on the news that gross domestic product (GDP) had risen just 0.1% in the June quarter, which Westpac currency strategist Imre Speizer says is a significant disappointment for investors.

"The GDP data in particular is important because it may well push the Reserve Bank into delaying its rate hikes even further - and that would push wholesale interest rates down and weigh on the kiwi."

Financial markets are generally convinced that it won't be until March next year that the Reserve Bank next lifts the Official Cash Rate.

BNZ economist Stephen Toplis says the central bank is under no pressure to raise the cost of borrowing - but that could quickly change.

"It will feel comfortable that it's doing the right thing. But the Reserve Bank will be no different from the rest of us: there's so much noise out there at the moment that it's difficult to see your way through it."