NZD/USD – New Zealand Dollar Punches Above 0.71, Yellen Testimony Next

NZD/USD has posted gains on Monday, as the pair trades slightly above the 0.71 line. In economic news, it’s a quiet start to the trading week. New Zealand Westpac Consumer Sentiment dipped to 106.0 in the first quarter, down from 109.6 points in the fourth quarter of 2015. There are no US releases on the schedule. On Tuesday, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will appear before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington.

With the Fed opting to stand pat again at its June policy meeting, will we see any rate hikes this year? In the heady days of December when the Fed raised interest rates, there was talk of up to four hikes in 2016. Fast forward to June, and the Fed hasn’t made a move so far this year. Many analysts are predicting only one hike in 2016, but on Friday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said that the economy may need just one hike in the next 2-1/2 years. Bullard did not mince words, bluntly stating that the Fed had done a poor job in its predictions about the US economy, and said the markets have no faith in the Fed’s “dot plot” of projected interest rate policy, as the Fed’s actual pace of rate hikes was much slower than its projections. Bullard added that this “mismatch” between word and action had caused distortions in the global financial markets and eroded credibility in the Federal Reserve.

US inflation and employment numbers were soft on Thursday. Core CPI and CPI, the primary gauges of consumer inflation, both posted small gains of 0.2%, within expectations. The Federal Reserve continues to insist that inflation will head towards its target of 2.0 percent, but given current inflation levels are not much above zero, it’s hard to see this happening, absent a huge surge by the US economy. Meanwhile, Unemployment Claims increased to 277 thousand, above the estimate of 267 thousand. This marked a four-week high, and once again raises questions about the strength of the US labor market. The employment picture appeared to be very bright in early 2016, but the Nonfarm Payrolls report of just 38 thousand in May shocked the markets and could delay a rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

The UK goes to the polls on Thursday, as the country votes in a historic referendum on whether to remain in the EU. The campaign between the “Leave” and “Remain” camps has resumed on Monday, following the killing of a Labor MP last week, which shocked the UK and briefly suspended campaigning. Polls released on Friday showed the Remain camp with the lead, and this has boosted the pound in Monday trading. Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior government ministers have warned that that a vote to leave the EU would cause turmoil in global financial markets, and a recent UK Treasury report says an EU exit will wipe out 800,000 jobs in the UK and cause a recession. With the referendum’s outcome very much in doubt, traders can expect volatility in the currency markets during the week, even as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

NZD/USD Fundamentals

Monday (June 20)

  • 18:57 New Zealand Westpac Consumer Sentiment. Actual 106.0 points

Upcoming Key Events

Tuesday (June 21)

  • 14:00 Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen Testifies

*Key releases are highlighted in bold

*All release times are EDT

NZD/USD for Monday, June 20, 2016

NZD/USD June 20 at 9:45 EDT

Open: 0.7083 Low: 0.7076 High: 0.7130 Close: 0.7116

NZD/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
0.6897 0.7011 0.7100 0.7231 0.7319 0.7454
  • NZD/USD posted slight gains in the Asian session. The pair was flat in the European session and is steady in North American trade
  • 0.7100 was tested in support and is a weak line
  • 0.7231 is a strong resistance line

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 0.7100, 0.7011 and 0.6897
  • Above: 0.7231, 0.7319 and 0.7454
  • Current Range: 0.7100 to 0.7231

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

The NZD/USD ratio is showing short positions with a majority (54%). This is indicative of trader bias towards NZD/USD reversing directions and moving to lower ground.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Kenny Fisher

Kenny Fisher

Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Kenny Fisher joined OANDA in 2012 as a Currency Analyst. Kenny writes a daily column about current economic and political developments affecting the major currency pairs, with a focus on fundamental analysis. Kenny began his career in forex at Bendix Foreign Exchange in Toronto, where he worked as a Corporate Account Manager for over seven years.