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NZ dollar holds below 77 US cents as US payrolls awaited

The New Zealand dollar held below 77 US cents, having fallen against a resurgent greenback buoyed by mid-term success by the Republican Party and signs the US labour market is improving.

The kiwi traded at 76.84 US cents as at 5pm in Wellington, from 77.15 cents at the start of the day and from 78.29 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index dropped to 76.25 from 77.05 yesterday.

The US dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was 87.532 at 5pm, having touched a four-year high of 87.606, after Republican mid-term victories gave the party control of both chambers of the US Congress, seen as helpful to financial markets. The US Labour Department releases nonfarm payrolls for October on Friday, expected to show the world's biggest economy stacked on 235,000 workers last month. ADP Research Institute figures this week showed US payrolls rose by 230,000 in October, beating estimates.

"There was a solid move up in the US dollar overnight, with Republicans seizing control," said Mark Johnson, senior dealer at OMF. "A better than expected ADP report is a precursor to payrolls. A broad US dollar rally pushed all those currencies down."

He said traders want more proof the kiwi has made a proper break below 77 US cents and if it declines further it may not find support again until it reaches 75.25 cents, "which is a fair distance with not many chart points in between."

The New Zealand dollar fell to 89.61 Australian cents, having gained above 90 Australian cents for the first time in two weeks. Labour market figures showed the Australian economy added 24,100 jobs last month, more than expected, although the unemployment rate held at 6.2 percent.

The kiwi weakened to 61.51 euro cents from 62.31 cents yesterday and dropped to 48.13 British pence from 48.89 pence. The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are both holding meetings today.

The New Zealand dollar slipped to 88.54 yen from 89.02 yen yesterday.