2 Dec 2013

Dollar rises on terms of trade figures

7:06 pm on 2 December 2013

The New Zealand dollar has risen after the release of figures showing the nation's terms of trade at a 40-year high.

Rankin Treasury director Derek Rankin said strong data from China, a major trading partner and contributor to New Zealand's economy, also supported the New Zealand dollar.

"The terms of trade came out this morning at 40-year highs. The number was particularly strong ... driven by climbing prices in milk powder and butter products mainly," Mr Rankin said.

As well, there was better news out of China in terms of the HSBC purchasing managers' index, he said.

Just after 5pm, the New Zealand dollar was buying: 81.96 US cents, 89.59 Australian cents, 49.89 pence, 0.6025 euro and 83.88 yen.

Share market little changed

The share market was little changed, the benchmark Top 50 Index closing 3 points lower at 4792.

Forsyth Barr investment adviser Euan McIntosh said sentiment had weighed against listed stocks recently, with secondary markets pulling back in the past week.

"It's definitely warranted investor and media attention, especially the high-profile State-owned listings experiencing price pullbacks," Mr McIntosh said.

"So we've seen both regulatory and political tension ripping the carpet out from Chorus' share price as well."

That had led to a shift in the balance between shares and fixed interest, with strong demand for annual reset securities and higher-quality bonds.

Even prices of companies such as Sky City, which traditionally had a "dependable" dividend, had come back as investors took capital gains or look for take lower-risk bonds, Mr McIntosh said.

Shares in Mighty River Power closed at $2.10, well below the $2.50 price the Government sold them for in May, while the Meridian Energy installment receipts closed at 97 cents, below their $1 issue price.

Chorus shares fell to a fresh record low of $1.41 before recovering slightly to close at $1.44, while

Sky City shares fell 8 cents to $3.63.