10 Mar 2014

Dollar hits six-year yen high

11:34 am on 10 March 2014

The New Zealand dollar has hit a six-year high against the yen, as well as rising to its highest level against the US dollar since last October.

The Kiwi rose as high as 87.57 yen and 85.02 US cents on Friday.

ANZ senior foreign exchange strategist Sam Tuck said recent weak United States data, as well as the emerging markets and Ukraine crises easing, meant investors were moving away from safe havens and again chasing high interest rates.

"We've had some weaker US data in terms of their manufacturing and employment reads ... and that has led to people going back into the old search for a yield in the currency markets," Mr Tuck said.

"With the RBNZ increasing yield and the Japanese monetary base increasing so rapidly, the obvious currency if you're going to be a yield-seeking carry player is the Kiwi-yen."

The Reserve Bank is expected to raise interest rates next Thursday.

Just after 5pm, the New Zealand dollar was buying: 84.8 US cents, 93.3 Australian cents, 50.67 pence, 0.6118 euro and 87.25 yen.

Market out of oomph

The sharemarket started to run out of oomph on Friday but, due to a late sprint, the NZX Top 50 Index still closed at yet another record: 5126 points, up 11 points.

First NZ Capital investment adviser Don Lewthwaite said investor fatigue had crept in.

"The market's had a lot of support, both from local players and from overseas investment funds, so it's been up for the last few days quite strongly and just plateaued out today, although turnover is still quite healthy," he said

Shares in Briscoe's, which Mr Lewthwaite described as "a leading light in the retail sector for quite a few years", gained 4c to $2.60, while the Warehouse fell 17c to $3.44 after $100 million of new Warehouse shares were sold to professional investors at $3.23 a share.

The Warehouse plans to use the funds to start a finance business.