HiFX's Dan Bell looks at what a President Romney, or a re-elected Obama, might mean for the US$, and suggests the Kiwi may be heading to US88c and A82c

HiFX's Dan Bell looks at what a President Romney, or a re-elected Obama, might mean for the US$, and suggests the Kiwi may be heading to US88c and A82c

Here's our weekly currencies outlook and review with HiFX's Senior Dealer Dan Bell including a look at what next week's US presidential election will mean for the currencies markets, and a look at just how high the New Zealand dollar might go.

Bell says re-election for President Barack Obama in next Tuesday's election will probably be a negative for the greenback with his Democrats seen as more pro-fiscal stimulus than Mitt Romney's Republicans, meaning the status quo of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing, or money printing will continue.

"The Fed will keep printing money and as and when required the government will step up," Bell says. "(But) if Romney wins he's seen as more fiscally conservative and may have a bias to start removing some of the monetary stimulus in place, although that will depend on who ends up taking over from the current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke."

Romney has said he won't reappoint Bernanke when his current term ends in January 2014 if he becomes president. Obama reappointed Bernanke to a second four-year term following his initial appointment by George W. Bush.

'Romney probably happy to have a weak US dollar'

 Nonetheless, Bell suggests Romney probably wouldn't want to see a strong US dollar.

"I think the situation in the US economy is that they're quite happy to have a weaker US dollar because it's good for their exporters and it's good for business. So at the end of the day it's a difficult one to call. If the Republicans win the presidential race then it could be a short-term positive for the US dollar, but overall probably not a lot will change and at this stage it does look like Obama might sneak over the line."

Meanwhile, Bell says with underlying readings of global financial conditions currently quite positive, less volatility is favouring the New Zealand dollar, which is seen by many traders and investors as a growth currency. Among the "quite positive" features this week was China's official October Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI). It rose to 50.2 from 49.8 in September,  which is the first reading above 50 - meaning a pick up in activity -since July, supporting a view that economic growth in the current economic cycle may have bottomed in China.

"So I suppose the risk that we face over the next few months is that the New Zealand dollar does continue to rally and if the global economy continues to muddle along, and the US continue to print money, well naturally that's going to be positive for the Kiwi as well," Bell says.

Testing post float highs?

"Our (HiFX) technical analyst is quite bullish on the New Zealand dollar. He actually thinks the Kiwi's got potential back up to US88c, which is the post (1985) float high that we had last year," Bell says.

Sitting just under US82.7c late on Friday, Bell maintains it wouldn't take much to get the New Zealand dollar up to US88c again, having reached its post float high of US88.20c on August 1 last year.

"And in light of the fact our Reserve Bank has said whilst they could use monetary policy to have an influence on the currency, it's certainly not something they want to do. But I'm sure there's going to be an interesting discussion at the Reserve Bank  if we did see the NZ dollar up at US88c."

On top of this Bell reckons the New Zealand dollar is set to push higher against the Australian dollar too, with a 50-50 chance of a cut to Australia's Official Cash Rate from 3.25% next Tuesday, and an ongoing easing bias from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) expected.

"If the RBA cut next week and continue to maintain an easing bias, well the Kiwi-Aussie cross rate could continue to go up. We still think it has got potential back up over A82c over the next three to six months, which again is also going to be negative for our exporters."

The Kiwi was at A79.51c late on Friday.

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Dan Bell is the Senior Dealer at HiFX, a UK-headquartered foreign exchange dealer with significant operations in Australia and New Zealand. It has a dealing room in Auckland. See more detail here.


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The owners of Tiwai Point smelter won't be pleased at this FX prediction. So how much further can Meridian go to subsidise Rio Tinto at public expense? Even if the electricty cost was significantly lowered further it must be getting to the stage where the plant could close with the continuing decline in aluminium prices. 

Aluminum Prices Still Sagging Too
With a decline of 1.4 percent on the LME to $1,873 per metric ton on Oct. 30, 2012, the aluminum cash price recorded the biggest decline of the day on the price index. On the LME, the 3-month price of aluminum fell 1.2 percent to $1,901 per metric ton.
Good charts here

Yep, the Q is why should Meridian as a business subsidize them?  I expect  they already pay next to nothing....

Beyond thats whats interesting is just like Oil, and Solid Energy with coal, Tiwai point are seeing that the price of their commodity is higher than ppl can pay.  So OK they stop producing, come the "upturn" there wont be the plants or mines to supply....suggesting scarcity and very high prices....which in turn will cause another recession....
Funny thing but neo-classical/neo-liberal economists seem to think that we can just pay the higher price....all will be well...
Its really looking like that isnt the case.......its not fun being in the test tube.....no sir.
PS got to wonder about gold as well
PPS throw in iron ore.

Aluminium prices are falling.  Yes.  But which plants will close will depend on which has the higher cost.  We don't have any information about where Tiwai sits in that range.  There will still be plants many operating, included could be Tiwai.
On a pure speculation basis, I would have thought Tawai was low cost - relatively.  Be good to have some facts on that

Yes...however what we are in danger of ending up in is a sort of dutch auction....ie we end up as tax payers subsidising private businesses profits....It seems to have been a trend for the last 20 if not 30 years.
Basically the company puts the employees jobs on the line as blackmail to a Govn.  The Govn then ponies up....a while later they come back again....etc....and/or meanwhile the company does the same in other countries until it gets the final deal....
The term Crony capitalism comes to mind.
Given the South's high reliance on the smelter for income and the resulting cost of un-employment if (when) it goes, our options are what?