By Paul McBeth
Dec. 17 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar fell in local trading as investor optimism ran out of puff from the Federal Reserve's plan to print more money and the Bank of Japan looking likely to follow suit after the weekend's election.
The kiwi fell to 84.34 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 85.54 cents at 8am and 84.56 cents on Friday in New York. The trade weighted index was little changed at 75.26 from 75.31 last week.
Investors' appetite for higher yields has dwindled at the start of this week, with stock markets flat across Asia as Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.4 percent in afternoon trading and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index down 0.2 percent.
New Zealand's currency rallied through the tail-end of last week after the Fed embarked on a fourth round of quantitative easing and the Liberal Democratic Party won a sweeping mandate in Japan on the promise of more market intervention.
Departing Bank of England governor "Mervyn King said 2013 could be the year of the currency wars - QE4 was probably enough to tip most of them over the edge," said Tim Kelleher, head of institutional FX sales NZ at ASB Institutional. "The kiwi's going to struggle to get down as people are attracted by the higher yield."
The kiwi dollar may top 85 US cents this week if third-quarter gross domestic product shows the economy didn't stall, according to a BusinessDesk survey of strategists.
Investors are waiting for the minutes of this month's Reserve Bank of Australia board meeting tomorrow, which may give an indication on whether the RBA will keep cutting rates next year. The kiwi was little changed at 80.03 Australian cents from 80.04 cents last week.
The kiwi rose as high as 71.33 yen after Japan's LDP and junior partner New Komeito won at least 320 of the 480 seats in the lower house in Sunday’s election, a two-third majority. The currency traded at 70.84 yen at 5pm in Wellington from 70.57 yen last week.
The currency fell to 64.13 euro cents from 64.24 cents on Friday in New York and 52.20 British pence from 52.31 pence.