17 Dec 2013

Dollar hits five-year high against Aussie

7:09 pm on 17 December 2013

The New Zealand dollar has hit a fresh five-year high against the Australian dollar but the currency is little changed against the currencies of other major trading partners.

ANZ foreign exchange market senior manager Sam Tuck said the major driver was the contrast between the New Zealand and Australian governments' financial positions.

"Really, you can look at the fiscal position for the half-yearly and mid-yearly updates from the two respective governments," Mr Tuck said.

"The New Zealand half-year update contained upward revisions to near-term GDP, a return to surplus remains on the cards for 2015 and net debt is peaking at 26.5% of GDP in 2015.

"The mid-year update from the Australian budget had larger deficit forecasts, which Moody's has classified as clearly credit negative, and this is having an obvious effect on the Australian dollar, weakening it while the New Zealand dollar remains a bastion of strength."

The New Zealand dollar rose as high as 92.69 Australian cents on Tuesday but just after 5pm was buying 92.61 cents. It was also buying 82.77 US cents, 50.72 pence, 0.6012 euro and 85.33 yen.

Shares down

The share market resumed its downward trend, the NZX Top 50 Index falling 8 points to 4728.

Devon Funds Management portfolio manager Nick Dravitski said the major news was an earnings downgrade from casino operator Sky City, which released an announcement to the market on Tuesday morning "modestly" downgrading its profit expectations for the first half of the financial year.

The announcement came on the back of the stronger New Zealand dollar against the Australian dollar and was a translation of earnings from its Australian assets, Mr Dravitski said.

Sky City shares fell 7 cents to $3.82, Kiwi Income Property Trust units eased 2 cents to $1.07, while Chorus shares rose 7 cents to $1.50.