11 Mar 2013

NZ dollar falls on US jobs report

1:59 pm on 11 March 2013

The New Zealand dollar has fallen amid signs the American economy is improving.

US firms created 236,000 jobs thousand last month, exceeding expectations, while unemployment fell slightly to 7.7%.

This caused the US dollar to rally due to speculation the Federal Reserve may end its monetary stimulus programme earlier than expected.

The New Zealand dollar hit a two-and-a-half month low of US81.9 cents over the weekend and by midday on Monday was trading around US82 cents.

Westpac Bank currency strategist Imre Speizer still expects the kiwi to rise against its US counterpart this year due to interest rate rises expected in New Zealand in the next year and stronger economic growth.

But he said the dollar may depreciate further in the short term due to the US job figures, which he calls a paradigm shift.

"These are very early days though. It's been a long time since we've seen good US economic data actually pushing the US currency higher."

Mr Speizer said data showing a slowdown in Chinese industrial output and higher than expected inflation also dampened investor enthusiasm for currencies like the kiwi.