NZ dollar holds gains ahead of US employment figures

The New Zealand dollar held its gain in local trading after investors got more optimistic over global growth on the strength of Chinese services data, and ahead of US employment figures.

The kiwi traded at 78.98 US cents at 5pm from 79.07 cents at 8am, up from 78.08 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index advanced to 74.68 from 74 yesterday.

Risk-sensitive assets got a boost in Northern Hemisphere trading yesterday after a report showed China’s services sector grew. Investors held off changing their view ahead of US private payrolls data on Thursday in Washington, which is a precursor to the official non-farm payrolls figures on Friday. US employment has become a touchstone for investors when looking at the world’s biggest economy as Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has linked reducing monetary stimulus to a reduction in the jobless rate.

“Liquidity’s pretty thin – basically no-one’s dipping their toes in ahead of payrolls,” said Mike Jones, currency strategist at Bank of New Zealand in Wellington. “The risk is a positive number popped the kiwi back down into the 78s,” he said, referring the kiwi against the greenback.

Investors will be also be looking at the European Central Bank and Bank of England meetings in Northern Hemisphere trading, with the British central bank more likely to attract more attention as the UK economy shows signs of recovery after a protracted recession. The kiwi rose to 59.89 euro cents from 59.31 cents yesterday, and increased to 50.58 British pence from 50.16 pence yesterday.

The local currency advanced to 78.85 yen from 77.85 yen yesterday after the Bank of Japan left its plans to double the size of its monetary base unchanged after a two-day policy meeting.

The kiwi 86.12 Australian cents from 85.78 cents yesterday after government figures showed a trade deficit of A$765 million in July, worse than the A$100 million surplus predicted.


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