Kiwi dollar, Swedish krona rise on central banks' remarks

Published Wed, Feb 13, 2019 · 09:50 PM
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THE New Zealand dollar and Sweden's crown rose after their central banks broke with the growing caution of the world's major monetary-policymakers, surprising traders who had expected more dovish signals.

The kiwi was the stand-out performer after the neutral tone of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's policy announcement, which came as hopes for a breakthrough in talks between the United States and China to end their trade war boosted riskier assets.

The Swedish crown also stormed higher after the Riksbank said the economic outlook had not changed much since December and it would stick to its plan to lift interest rates in the second half of 2019.

"The Fed's policy pivot isn't shared by every central bank in the world, and markets have reacted to 'business as usual' from both the RBNZ and Riksbank," said Kit Juckes at Societe Generale.

The kiwi rallied as much as 1.7 per cent to US$0.6852 as traders rushed to cover short positions. Sweden's crown rose 0.7 per cent against the euro to 10.42 and 0.6 per cent versus the dollar to 9.208.

Signaling another major policy shift for the Federal Reserve after it put off raising rates further, Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester said on Tuesday the central bank would make plans to stop letting its bond holdings diminish.

Elsewhere, investors chased riskier assets on signs of a detente in the US-China trade war. That led to a pause in the dollar's recent rally after an eight-day winning streak ended overnight.

The dollar index rose marginally to 96.788. It stood at US$1.1318 against the euro, slightly firmer.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he could see letting the March 1 deadline for reaching a trade agreement with China "slide for a little while", if the two sides were close to agreement.

Together with a possible deal to avert another partial US government shutdown, the optimism sent stocks soaring.

Jane Foley, currencies strategist at Rabobank, cautioned that there was "a lot of evidence that global growth is slowing and a lot of evidence to be suspicious of an end to the US-China trade war.

"There will still be a long way to go," she added.

The Australian dollar added 0.2 per cent to US$0.7111.

The dollar rose 0.2 per cent versus the yen to 110.69.

Sterling hovered near US$1.29 after consumer inflation in January fell to a two-year low.

The currency was unmoved after the UK's chief Brexit negotiator was overhead saying British lawmakers would face a choice between Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal or a long extension to the March deadline for leaving the European Union. REUTERS

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