The Opening Bell: Where currencies start on Friday, March 23, 2018

By Dan Bell

The NZDUSD opens at 0.7224 (mid-rate) this morning.

The Kiwi has traded a 109 point or 1.52% range against the USD this week, finishing the week modestly higher than Monday’s open of 0.7215.

The Fed raised rates by 0.25% to 1.75% as widely expected and signalled two more rate hikes in 2018 are likely.

The RBNZ held interest rates unchanged at a record low of 1.75% and indicated it doesn’t expect to raise them anytime soon as economic growth loses momentum and inflation remains subdued.

Australian Employment data, released yesterday afternoon was worse than expected. The Employment change was 17.5k (19.8k expected), and the Unemployment rate increased to 5.6% from 5.5% (5.5% expected).

In February 2018, the quantity bought in UK Retail Sales increased by 0.8% when compared with the previous month, with increases seen across all main sectors except non-food stores. This was better than the 0.4% increase forecast and -0.2% previously.

The Bank of England (BOE) kept its main interest rate unchanged at 0.5%, amid lower-than-expected inflation figures and modest improvements to wage increases.

In the week ending March 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted U.S. Initial Claims was 229,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 226,000. The 4-week moving average was 223,750, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 221,500.

Eurozone business activity grew at its slowest rate for over a year in March, according to the flash IHS Markit Eurozone PMI. At 55.3, down from 57.1 in February, the headline output index was the lowest since January of last year and signalled a second successive monthly easing in the rate of expansion. German, French and also Japanese PMI were all came in worse than expectation.

A myriad of data is to be released tonight: Canadian CPI, Core Retail Sales, Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, US New Home Sales, US Core Durable Goods and US Durable Goods. On Sunday UK, Switzerland and most other European countries enter Daylight Savings by moving their clocks forward one hour.

Global equity markets are lower except Japan:  Dow -1.27%, S&P 500 -1.11%, FTSE -1.23%, DAX -1.70%, CAC -1.38%, Nikkei -+0.99%, Shanghai -0.53%.

Gold prices are up 0.4% trading at $1,327 an ounce. WTI Crude Oil prices are down 0.6% over the past 24 hours, trading at $64.40 a barrel.

Current indicative rates:

NZDUSD 0.7224 0.2%
NZDEUR  0.5866 0.1%
NZDGBP 0.5119 0.2%
NZDJPY 76.38 -0.4%
NZDAUD 0.9362 0.6%
NZDCAD 0.9321 0.0%
GBPNZD 1.9529 -0.3%

 

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Dan Bell is the senior currency strategist at HiFX in Auckland. You can contact him here »

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USD 
NZD
End of day UTC
Source: CoinDesk

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