NZ dollar steady as Greek impasse keeps investors nervy

By Paul McBeth

Nov. 13 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar was little changed as high-level talks in Europe about whether the region will give Greece its next bail-out tranche keep investors nervous, spurring a decline in Asian equity markets.

The kiwi traded at 81.65 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 81.76 cents at 8am and 81.58 cents yesterday. The trade weighted index edged up to 73.17 from 73.05 yesterday.

Stocks across Asia fell as investors remain in the dark as to whether Greece will get its aid package and if it will stay in the region's single currency. European finance ministers granted the Mediterranean nation an extra two years to get its books in order, though Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Greece will have to find a way to bridge a 32.6 billion funding gap on its own if it wants to get the extension.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.5 percent in afternoon trading, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 1 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.1 percent.

"There seems to be an impasse over Greece," said Tim Kelleher, head of institutional FX sales NZ at ASB Institutional in Auckland. "I don't think there's any fundamental change (in the kiwi) unless equities keep going lower."

New Zealand's currency rose to 78.42 Australian cents from 78.31 cents yesterday after business confidence deteriorated across the Tasman, according to a National Australia Bank survey.

Investors will be keeping tabs on Germany's Zew survey of the economic situation in Northern Hemisphere trading, with European news likely to top headlines ahead of the next meeting about Greece's bailout on Nov. 20.

The currency rose to 64.37 euro cents from 64.11 cents yesterday, and advanced to 51.46 British pence from 51.29 pence. The kiwi traded at 64.73 yen from 64.83.

(BusinessDesk)

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