bizEDGE New Zealand logo
Story image

NZ dollar may gain vs. A$ as falling commodities weigh on Australia

The New Zealand dollar may continue to push near decade-highs against its trans-Tasman counterpart as weak commodity prices sap investors' appetite for Australia's economic exposure to iron ore and minerals.

The kiwi traded at 95.10 Australian cents at 4:30pm in Wellington from 95.23 cents yesterday, having broken above 95 cents for the first time in 11 months in December. It traded at 77.21 US cents from 77.02 cents at 8am and 77.37 cents yesterday.

The collapse in the oil price in recent months has led to investors eschewing assets with links to commodities, and created a divergence between hard commodities, such as oil and minerals, and soft commodities, such as food. That's led to increased speculation the Reserve Bank of Australia may have to cut interest rates again, which would increase the yield advantage New Zealand has over its neighbouring economy.

"We've seen hard commodities attempt to bounce in the last week, but it hasn't come off," said Kevin Morgan, senior dealer foreign exchange and derivatives at OMF in Auckland. "The kiwi/Aussie continues to press upwards and there's potential for us to go one-for-one in the first quarter of 2015."

OMF's Morgan said the Australian is continuing to be sold off on weaker iron ore and oil prices, which has investors shying away from commodity linked currencies.

The local currency pared its decline against the greenback after the US Dollar Index rose above 90 for the first time since before the global financial crisis after stronger than expected gross domestic product data in the US.

Morgan said the kiwi will likely continue its decline against the greenback in 2015 as investors prepare for the Federal Reserve to embark on its interest rate hiking cycle, and move towards 75 US cents next year.

The local currency was little changed at 92.93 yen. It rose to 63.39 euro cents from 63.26 cents yesterday and rose to 49.76 British pence from 49.62 pence. The trade-weighted index was at 78.56 from 78.60 yesterday.