25 Jan 2013

Prediction NZ dollar will hit peak of 86 US cents this year

7:17 am on 25 January 2013

A currency strategist is picking the New Zealand dollar will hit a peak of 86 US cents this year, within just a few months.

Westpac currency strategist Imre Speizer said the kiwi's rise is being fuelled by expectations that economic growth and interest rates will increase.

The kiwi reached 84.41 US cents overnight on Wednesday, and Mr Speizer expects it will break through that soon and hit 86 cents over the next one to three months.

Without any global shocks, he said there's also a 30% chance that it could break through its all time high of 88.40 US cents.

"Over the year we wouldn't rule out a new record high, although that's not at this stage our central forecast, but it's possible."

Rankin Treasury director Derek Rankin agrees. He said New Zealand is one of the few economies experiencing growth, and where interest rates are not at, or close to zero, making it a very attractive investment.

US prospects

Mr Rankin said this, combined with a weakening US dollar, could push the kiwi as high as 90 US cents this year.

He said the United States is printing money and wants its dollar to weaken and the only reason it hasn't is because there have been so many problems with the euro.

Although these problems won't be resolved, Mr Rankin said the market has become more resilient regarding the euro.

"So I think the euro has the capacity to strengthen this year and that will mean the New Zealand dollar and the Australian dollar will strengthen and the US dollar will be, if you like, one of the weaker currencies in the world this year."

Mr Rankin said there's been an outflow of euros from New Zealand over the last six months, as eurozone economic conditions have improved, and this is likely to result in a small correction in the New Zealand - euro exchange rate this year.