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NZ dollar edges up after Swiss National Bank imposes negative rates

The New Zealand dollar edged up after the Swiss National Bank imposed negative deposit rates in a bid to keep a cap on the nation's currency, leaving Australasian nations as relatively safe places for investors to park their money over the holiday period.

The kiwi increased to 77.34 US cents at 8am in Wellington from 77.13 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index advanced to 78.32 from 77.80 yesterday.

Switzerland's central bank will cut the rate on 'sight deposits' to minus 0.25 percent from Jan. 22 as it seeks to cap the Swiss franc, which has been appreciating in increasingly volatile markets. Oil prices swung during Northern Hemisphere trading and were recently down, adding pressure to the Russian economy, whose woes have been stoking volatility in the markets as it seeks to shore up the rouble.

"With all of these factors going on the situation in Ukraine is lumbering along extremely slowly," said Stuart Ive, senior dealer foreign exchange at OMF in Wellington. "This is really the last chance anybody has to cover their positions before the holidays and the kiwi and Aussie become the parking station for institutions and corporates to place over the holiday period for the extra yield."

Ive said the kiwi will probably trade between 76.80 US cents and 77.75 cents today, and while it may push up before the end of the year, it should depreciate over the longer term.

The kiwi rose to 91.90 yen from 91.45 yen yesterday ahead of today's Bank of Japan policy meeting. The central bank is expected to keep its quantitative easing programme intact, though there is some uncertainty given it's the first review since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party won an increased mandate at last weekend's election.

Local data due for release include November travel and migration figures at 10.45am, and the ANZ Business Outlook survey at 1pm.

The kiwi increased to 94.85 Australian cents from 94.71 cents yesterday, and rose to 62.97 euro cents from 62.47 cents. It edged down to 49.39 British pence from 49.48 pence yesterday, and advanced to 4.8072 Chinese yuan from 4.7918 yuan.