26 Aug 2013

Trade figures have little effect on dollar

6:51 pm on 26 August 2013

The New Zealand dollar ended the day very much where it started against the currencies of all our major trading partners but that belied the very sharp reaction to worse than expected trade figures for July.

The $774 million deficit was the widest trade deficit for a July month in five years, and the annual deficit has more than doubled to $1.7 billion.

Official figures show the value of imported goods rose 17% in July to $4.6 billion compared with the same month last year, while exported goods fell by nearly 5% to $3.8 billion.

But the currency soon shrugged off the data: the kiwi fell as low as 77.81 US cents but shortly after 5pm was trading at 78.24 cents, and it was little changed at 86.53 Australian cents after falling as low as 86.17 cents.

ASB Bank external foreign exchange sales head Tim Kelleher said optimism elsewhere rubbed off on our currency.

"We saw the trade balance come in worse than expected but it appears to be a couple of one-offs in the numbers, so it's hard to get a correct handle on it," he said.

"So what we've seen since then is the Asian markets have all opened up positively. We saw some quite strong moves in some of the emerging markets on Friday night."

He gave the example of the Brazilian real, which rallied 3.5% on some new measures from the Brazilian central bank.

"So that's fed through to a little bit of optimism here today," Mr Kelleher said.

The New Zealand dollar was also steady at 50.25 British pence, 58.47 euro and 77.21 yen.