NZ dollar rises as aussie employment data disappoints

Jan 17 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar rose against an Australian dollar undermined by a weak employment report on Thursday.

The kiwi was at 79.86 Australian cents at 5pm, up from 79.49 cents at 8am and 79.63 cents at 5pm on Wednesday. The rise came after the Australian employment data came out at 1.30pm NZ time.

"The important number to look at was jobs growth and the jobs added or shedded. The consensus was for adding 5,000 and the result was shedding 5,500," Imre Speizer, senior markets strategist at Westpac said.

"It was not a major surprise. I'd call it a moderate surprise," he said.

The headline jobs number produced a textbook response, the Australian dollar falling quickly to the day's low of 1.0533 US dollars before steadying around 1.0545.

Interest rate market pricing for the Reserve Bank of Australia's February meeting gyrated but settled at a 38 percent probability of a 25 basis point cash rate cut.

The Australian data was "the story of the day", Mr Speizer said.

"Tomorrow we have our story, which is the December quarter inflation report."
A 0.1 percent rise is expected in the consumer price index in the December quarter.

Mr Speizer said a small negative number could have negative psychological connotations which would undermine the local currency.

The kiwi was at 83.93 US cents at 5pm, which compared to 84.06 cents at 5pm on Wednesday.

Earlier a 1.1 percent rise in dairy prices in a Fonterra online auction and positive results from US banks bolstered sentiment, helping the kiwi to recover from a test of lower levels on Wednesday night.

The Australian unemployment rate in December of 5.4 percent was in line with expectations.

The kiwi was at 74.11 yen at 5pm from 74.02 yen on Wednesday. It was at 63.19 euro from 63.28 euro and at 52.48 British pence from 52.34. The trade-weighted index was at 75.40 from 75.30.

(BusinessDesk)

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