The New Zealand dollar is in positive territory on Wednesday, as the currency looks for its first winning session since April 20th.
Strong jobs report boosts New Zealand dollar
The New Zealand labour market remains robust, as confirmed by the Q1 employment report. The unemployment rate remained at a record low of 3.2%, matching expectations. Employment growth fell to 2.9%, (3.1% exp.), which was down from the 3.5% gain in Q1.
What was perhaps more significant was wage growth, which climbed to 3.1% YoY, its highest level since 2008. The RBNZ places great weight on wage growth and this upswing will raise pressure on the central bank to deliver another 0.50% rate hike at the May 25th meeting, which would bring the Official Cash Rate to 2.0%.
Inflation hit 6.9% in the first quarter and the RBNZ is determined to curb inflation expectations, which like CPI, continues to accelerate. The RBNZ delivered a 0.50% in April and has telegraphed the markets that more tightening is needed. Despite the RBNZ’s hawkish stance, the New Zealand dollar has been steamrolled by its US cousin. NZD/USD plunged 6.88% in the month of April, even with the 0.50% rate hike in April.
The Fed holds its policy meeting later today, with a 0.50% rate increase a virtual certainty. Such a move will be highly significant, as it would mark the Fed’s largest rate increase in 20 years and demonstrates that the Fed is committed to reducing inflation, which has hit 40-year highs. The half-point increase has been priced in, but what remains uncertain is the tone of the rate statement and how aggressively will the Fed scale back its balance sheet (quantitative tightening). If the Fed delivers a hawkish message to the markets in addition to the rate hike, the US dollar will likely respond with gains.
- There is support at 0.6391 and 0.6325
- We find resistance at 0.6519 and 0.6585
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