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NZ dollar little changed vs. USD on Fed divided opinion

The New Zealand dollar was little changed after minutes of the last US Federal Reserve policy meeting showed members divided about the timing of rate hikes, while weak European data helped lift the kiwi against the euro.

The kiwi traded at 75.49 US cents at 9am in Wellington, from 75.41 cents late yesterday. It gained to 69.97 euro cents from 69.53 cents.

The Federal Open Market Committee's minutes of their March 17-18 meeting showed several members favoured raising US interest rates in June, while others preferred to wait until later in the year, arguing that weak crude oil and a stronger greenback would help curb inflation. The meeting predated last week's weaker-than-expected non-farm payrolls data and included the comment that gains in jobs had been strong.

"Overall, the minutes don't add much clarity to the outlook for monetary policy, especially given some weak economic data since the meeting," said Imre Speizer, a strategist at Westpac Banking Corp.

The kiwi gained against the euro after figures showed German factory orders unexpectedly fell 0.9 percent in February, the third decline in four months. Other figures showed retail sales in the eurozone declined 0.2 percent in February. Traders are now looking ahead to the end of the week and the deadline for Greece to pay 450 million euros owed to the International Monetary Fund.

The New Zealand dollar slipped to 98.14 Australian cents from 98.24 cents. The kiwi rose to 90.64 yen from 90.38 yen and was little changed at 50.72 British pence from 50.83 pence.