Daily Economic Commentary: New Zealand

The Kiwi returned some of its gains last Friday when better-than-expected data from the US printed. However, the Kiwi’s value has been relatively firm compared to its western counterparts because of the RBNZ’s statement the day before.

According to Governor Alan Bollard, the bank could hike rates as early as mid-2010. In his statement he indicated that New Zealand’s economy is starting to show some strength, as evidenced by the upbeat housing market. Bollard’s statement sent the Kiwi soaring.

New Zealand has a grand total of ONE economic report due this week. The NBNZ business confidence report, which will be released at 2:00 am GMT on Thursday, determines whether businesses are optimistic or pessimistic about the economy. A reading above baseline 0 means that businesses are optimistic. Last month’s reading stood at 43.4. If the actual result comes out higher, we could see currency traders buy up the Kiwi.

Kiwi trading was as quiet as a herd of sheep, as we barely saw any movement in the markets. The NZDUSD pair closed 35 pips higher, to finish the day at 0.7278.

We could see more ranging over the next couple of days, as no news will be coming out from New Zealand till Thursday. I’d be on the lookout for more developments in Dubai. If there are more news that other sovereign powers will help bail out their Dubai brothers, it could boost risk appetite once again.

Price movement of the NZDUSD pair was unsteady yesterday as the Kiwi struggled to hold its ground against the greenback. At the end of the day, the NZDUSD pair slid to a low of 0.7217 with more and more traders expecting a hawkish FOMC statement for today.

New Zealand’s economic calendar was empty yesterday, leaving the Kiwi with no economic data to draw strength from. The Kiwi was then forced to join most major currencies in succumbing to US dollar domination, due in part to the upcoming FOMC rate statement. Based on the recent economic performance of the US, traders are expecting Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to deliver a more upbeat statement this time, possibly hinting of a sooner rate hike. Watch out for that at 7:15 pm GMT today. Things are bound to get exciting!

The Kiwi made a change of heart after falling during the Asian session up until the start of the euro session to recover most of its losses against the dollar. The NZDUSD closed at 0.7207 after dropping to a low of 0.7156.

No economic reports were due in New Zealand yesterday. The Kiwi managed to recoup its earlier losses due to the positive results of the German, French, and euro zone flash manufacturing and services PMI. In the US, the dollar strengthened against the Kiwi couple of hours before the release of the FOMC’s statement. There was some volatility during the time of the announcement but the pair managed to stay flat eventually since nothing new was mentioned. The int stated that the labor and financial markets have picked. Though, it will still keep its interest rate unchanged at 0.25% for an extended period of time.

Later at 2:00 am GMT, the NBNZ business confidence for the month of December will be published. For the past two months, the index has been notably declining. It currently stands at 43.4. Would December’s score show another decline? With New Zealand’s Westpac consumer sentiment dropping during the fourth quarter to 116.9 from 120.3, then we could be up for another fade in the NBNZ business confidence department as well. Still, some economists believe that the current level of consumer and business confidence remains in line with the central bank’s consumer spending growth forecast. In any case, a fall in NBNZ business confidence could have a short term negative impact on the Kiwi.

During the US session, data the initial jobless claims for the week ending December 12 will be reported. Claims are expected to be at 466,000, better than the 474,000 score during the previous week. Risk appetite could once again develop should the initial jobless claims account print a smaller tally. Such then could be bullish for the NZD.

The Kiwi experienced a nasty fall in yesterday’s trading session. The Kiwi fell more than 100 pips from its Asian session high, finding itself at 0.7100 at the end of the US trading session.

Data from New Zealand provided no support for the Kiwi. The NBNZ business climate survey that was released printed a reading of 38.5 for this month, much lower than November’s reading of 43.4. This means that businesses (manufacturers, retaileers, wholesalers, etc) have become less optimistic.

No news will be coming out today from New Zealand but don’t expect Kiwi trading to be uneventful as well! It’s triple witching in the US today where stock market index futures, stock market index options, and stock options expire. This often brings volatility, and as liquidity continues to dry up, the US session might prove to be a choppy one as traders close shop for the week.

Trading was so quiet for the Kiwi, I could almost hear the all the sheep chewing away! The NZDUSD pair traded within a tight range of just 67 pips, closing at 0.7110.

Tonight at 9:45 pm GMT, New Zealand’s current account will be released. It is expected that the account will move from a surplus of 120 million NZD to a deficit of 2.25 billion NZD. If the report comes out worse than expected, it may lead to some bearish movement on NZD pairs.

We may see more the same peace and quiet, as no economic reports will be released throughout the week. In any case, just be careful of large spikes as low liquidity may lead to some exaggerated and unwarranted moves.

The Kiwi struggled to keep its head above water in its attempt to avoid sinking down against the greenback. Strong economic reports from New Zealand helped the NZDUSD stay afloat and find support at 0.7070.

Consumer spending seems to have picked up pace in November as New Zealand’s credit card spending report printed a 1.6% annual increase. This indicator has been in the negative zone for the past couple of months and this nice rebound suggests that consumers are probably pumping up their spending this holiday season. The question is: Is this rise in spending simply a seasonal effect or can it be sustained? We’ll just have to wait until the next few months to know for sure!

Also released yesterday was New Zealand’s current account balance, which showed that their deficit narrowed from 10.37 billion NZD to 5.72 billion NZD during the third quarter. Still, RBNZ Govenor Alan Bollard warned that this improvement may not be sustainable as he predicts that the current deficit could widen to 5.3% of their GDP next quarter.

Up ahead, New Zealand will release its third quarter GDP reading at 9:45 pm GMT today. The report could show that their economy grew by 0.4% during the quarter, much better than the previously reported 0.1% expansion during the second quarter. If the actual figure hits the mark, then the Kiwi could have a chance to rally and recover some of its losses from last week.

Calling all Kiwi bulls! The Kiwi is on a big danger of falling big time against the dollar. Presently, the NZDUSD is hanging on the 0.7000 edge. Falling down to 0.6500 is a possibility should the pair slip from the mentioned mark.

The improvement in New Zealand’s current account deficit did not do much to keep the country’s GDP at least in line with estimate. In fact, the country’s overall output for the third quarter even fell short from the consensus of 0.4% with a gain of only 0.2%. This adds to signs that the RBNZ may not hike their interest rate until mid of next year or even later. Weak construction, manufacturing and business investment activity remained to be the culprit to New Zealand’s less-than-stellar performance.

Data on US new home sales will be released later at 3:00 pm GMT. The figure for November is seen to reach 442,000, surpassing the previous month’s tally of 430,000. With existing home sales already beating expectations, having a positive upside in this account is also likely. Note, however, that the dollar remained strong despite the upbeat existing sales. Hence, it is also possible for Kiwi to sink again given an increase in new home sales.

Hah, it looks like the 0.7000 remained intact last week, much to the delight of Kiwi bulls. The buying support received by the dying Kiwi was all thanks to the small rebound in oil and gold prices.

The less-than-stellar GDP report last week was unnoticed by currency traders. In any case, the report showed that New Zealand’s economy grew only 0.2% during the third quarter of this year and not 0.4% like initially expected. As I’ve said in my previous update, could be another reason for the RBNZ to keep rates steady until the middle of 2010.

New Zealand’s cupboard this week is empty so we could see technicalities play a big role in the Kiwi’s price action. Given how thin liquidity is in the market currently, we could see the Kiwi move before we head into 2010!

The Kiwi ended 2009 with a bang, as it erased its losses over the previous two weeks. The NZDUSD pair had opened the week at 0.7061, before shooting out of the rocket to end the week at 0.7255 – a gain of almost 200 pips!

Its going to be a pretty quiet week on the economic front, as only trade balance data will be released on Wednesday. New Zealand’s trade deficit is expected to shrink from 487 million NZD to 397 million NZD. If this comes in better than expected, we may see the Kiwi sustain its bullish run.

I’d also take a look at commodity trading, as it was the comdolls that made some nice moves against the USD last week. In 2009, we saw commodities go on a sharp rise, which helped the NZD appreciate the most amongst majors versus the USD last year. Will we see more of the same in 2010?

The Kiwi and the rest of its com-doll buddies traded higher yesterday as commodity prices surged. Although New Zealand hasn’t released any economic reports yet, the NZDUSD flew all the way up to a high of 0.7354.

Risk appetite seemed to be back on track yesterday as strong manufacturing data from the US and China boosted the higher-yielding currencies. Also, oil prices climbed to $81 per barrel while gold prices rose at their fastest pace in two months.

In terms of economic reports, the coast is clear again for the Kiwi but watch out for the release of US pending home sales which could largely affect risk sentiment. New Zealand’s first economic report for the week comes in the form of its trade balance report due Wednesday 9:45 pm GMT.

The NZDUSD appeared to have cooled off yesterday after 7 days of strong rally. The pair closed a hair lower at 0.7340 from an opening of 0.7431 after reaching a high of 0.7391.

New Zealand’s economic calendar was report-free yesterday. Even the US equities markets had no clear direction for the most part of the session. No wonder why the Kiwi closed flat.

Later today at 9:45 pm GMT, New Zealand’s trade balance will be reported. The country’s trade deficit is expected to have improved to -NZD 397 million from -NZD 487 million in November. That’s an improvement of about 18.5%! Hence, the Kiwi could gain some support if such is the case.

Thanks to the Fed’s meeting minutes and New Zealand’s better-than-expected trade, the Kiwi was able to post some gains in yesterday’s trading session.

The Fed’s meeting minutes revealed indicated that the members weren’t still quite when they would withdraw their stimulus measures and hike rates. This caused quite a shock to traders, especially since just last month the speculation was that the Fed could hike rates earlier than expected.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s trade balance only printed a 269 billion NZD deficit in November, lower than the 397 billion deficit initially expected. Digging deeper into the report would revealthat the drop in imports was greater than the decline in exports, helping the deficit to narrow. Remember, the trade balance measures the net difference in value between imported and exported goods.

No economic data due for release today from New Zealand so we could volatility drop down a couple of notches as traders sit on the sidelines in anticipation of the NFP report coming out of the US tomorrow.

It looked like the Kiwi was about to gain versus the dollar for the 9th day in a row, but the NZD bulls cooled off, allowing the bears to take over. The pair closed much lower at 0.7323 after hitting a high of 0.7430. Could this be a one day break? Or is this the end of the recent run by the NZD?

Once again, there’s nothing on the economic menu for New Zealand today. Be on the lookout for any news on commodities, as all the com-dolls have been on a good run recently. Also, watch out for the NFP report from the US later tonight. I know, I know, I keep saying this. But the report could turn out to have a pretty significant effect on the markets. I suggest you take a look at my buddy Forex Gump’s blog for some words of wisdom on the NFP report.

After a brief period of consolidation, the Kiwi broke higher against the greenback as the NFP report came in weaker than expected last Friday. No economic reports were released from New Zealand then and it looks like this week’s economic coast is almost clear once again.

The only reports due from New Zealand this week are the NZIER business confidence index set for release at 9:00 pm GMT and the building consents report due on Wednesday.

During the third quarter of 2009, the business confidence index landed at 36, indicating that business optimism is pretty strong. For the fourth quarter, the index could stay positive and possibly even climb higher. If this happens and commodity prices continue to surge, the NZDUSD could push past the 0.7400 handle.

Meanwhile, the building consents report, which printed an 11.7% increase in November, could post another uptick for December. This would mark the indicator’s fifth month in consecutive increases. Watch out for that on Wednesday 9:45 pm GMT.

The Kiwi resumed its upward move against the dollar to begin the week. The NZDUSD reached a high of 0.7437 in yesterday’s trading before settling at 0.7435.

New Zealand’s NZIER business confidence for the fourth quarter of 2009 dipped to 31 from 36. 31% among the 1,400 businesses that were surveyed expect the economy to improve over the next 6 months. Lower business confidence further supports the RBNZ’s decision to keep its interest rate steady at 2.5% until the middle of this year.

Still, the NZD managed to post some gains over the USD following the result.

No major economic events are scheduled in New Zealand today. The NZD could just move in a range bound fashion given the lack of economic flows.

Just like its fellow commodity-based currencies, the Kiwi fell down a couple of notches in yesterday’s trading session. The Kiwi, after hitting an intraday high of 0.7437 dropped to a low of 0.7366 before ending the US session at 0.7387.

No important economic data was released from new Zealand yesterday but expect to see the country’s report on building approvals at 9:45 pm GMT today. Since getting a permit is one of the first steps in construction, a rising building approvals report is usually an early indication of future economic activity. And because increased economic activity means economic growth, rising approvals is usually interpreted as bullish for the Kiwi.

The dollar’s weakness kept the Kiwi afloat, although gains were minimal in yesterday’s trading sessions. The NZDUSD pair stayed within range and closed at an even 0.7400, up just 14 pips for the day.

The Kiwi remained steady after concerns regarding China’s recent policy moves faded from the minds of traders. This is something I’ll be keeping my eye on. China is one of Australia and New Zealand’s biggest importers – any moves that are made to slow down growth could hurt the AUD and NZD. 

Late yesterday, the building consents m/m report showed that building permits rose by just 1.2% in the month of December. This came after November’s figure was revised down from 11.7% to 10.7%. Perhaps the [RBNZ](http://www.babypips.com/forexpedia/Reserve_Bank_of_New_Zealand) was right in not following the [RBA](http://www.babypips.com/forexpedia/Reserve_Bank_of_Australia) in raising interest rates late last year? Take note, recent housing data from Australia suggests that the RBA may have been a little impulsive in raising interest rates too quickly. My buddy Forex Gump recently wrote an article about Australia in his [blog](http://www.babypips.com/blogs/piponomics/is_the_rba_getting_too_****y.html)– check it out! 

Nothing major on deck for the rest of the week, but watch out for some crazy movement later today when the ECB releases its [interest rate decision](http://www.babypips.com/forexpedia/European_Central_Bank_%28ECB%29_Rate_Announcement_and_Press_Conference). Also, US [retail sales](http://www.babypips.com/forexpedia/Retail_Sales) data will be coming out tonight so this could cause a ruckus in the markets. Be careful and good luck trading!

The Kiwi stayed range-bound against the greenback, trading between 0.7400 and 0.7445. Although no economic reports were released from New Zealand, the NZDUSD managed to show some strength, along with its com-doll buddies.

The NZDUSD pair was also able to pocket some gains after the release of weaker than expected US retail sales numbers. Today, New Zealand has an empty economic schedule, leaving the NZDUSD driven mostly by commodity prices and US economic reports. Mind you, the US has plenty on its plate today: their CPI, Empire State manufacturing index, and University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading. If the reports are as disappointing as their recent retail sales report, the NZDUSD could be prime for a breakout.

The Kiwi managed to lose all of its Thursday gains over the dollar due to a lack of positive economic catalyst in New Zealand and the US last Friday. The NZDUSD fell and closed at 0.7383 from 0.7426.

This week, New Zealand’s q/q CPI for the fourth quarter of 2009 will be issued on Tuesday (January 19). Prices are seen to have waned to 0.0% during the quarter from 1.3%. Such notable decline in New Zealand’s inflation figure could be bearish for the NZD.

On Wednesday, the NZD could see a break if the country’s November retail sales grew 0.6% as estimated, on top of the 0.3% gain during the in October. The core version of the account which excludes sales of automobiles is also seen to post a 0.4% increase after falling by 0.1%.

During the same day, China is also expected to print a 10.5% GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2009. Chinese industrial production is also projected to have gained 19.6% during the year. Since New Zealand, alongside Australia, is one of China’s suppliers of raw materials, gains from the mentioned primary accounts could also bolster the valuation of the Aussie and the Kiwi.