NZD - Recent Performance
The New Zealand dollar gained handsomely against the Australian dollar between October and mid-April, strengthening by 7% to fetch 0.95 AUD, although the kiwi remains within the central portion of its 2014-2018 trading range against AUD.
Against the US dollar, the New Zealand dollar had rallied at the time of this report to 0.738 and continues to climb steadily towards the highs of its current cycle, roughly between 0.745 and 0.755.
In April, analysts at Saxo Bank questioned whether NZD had the legs to threaten cycle highs given likely unfavourable changes to the NZ-US interest rate differential. US benchmark interest rates have already risen to match New Zealand’s and are expected to overtake them this year. While further US hikes are expected in 2018, no rate hike in New Zealand is expected until mid-2019. Accounting and consulting firm PwC described the NZ-US differential in April as a “massive change in market conditions” that offered a “disincentive to invest in the New Zealand dollar.”
Other threats to the New Zealand dollar include the potential for a US-China trade war, which would threaten global trade and consequently weigh on growth-sensitive currencies like NZD. The kiwi got a boost in the second week of April after Chinese Premier Xi Jinping declined from speaking harshly on Washington’s trade policies at the Boao Forum (“Asia’s Davos”).