NZD/USD started the day with gains but has reversed directions and is sharply lower in the North American session. The New Zealand dollar is trading at 0.5657, down 1.38%.
RBNZ raises rates by 0.50%
As expected, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand delivered a 0.50% hike, bringing the benchmark to 3.50%, its highest level since 2015. The RBNZ has now hiked rates at eight consecutive meetings and even discussed a super-size 0.75% increase at today’s meeting.
The RBNZ has been aggressive with its rate-tightening cycle, and there’s likely more to come. The rate statement noted that “core consumer inflation is too high” and the labour market remains tight, a signal that the central bank will continue to tighten until inflation has peaked. This means that the November meeting will likely bring a rate hike of 0.50% or 0.25%, depending on economic data and the inflation picture. Inflation hit 7.3% in Q2, up from 6.9 in Q1.
One of the dangers of a steep rate-tightening cycle is choking off economic growth and Moody’s rating agency said after today’s rate hike that a soft land was “increasingly unlikely”. The RBNZ might disagree, pointing to a 1.7% gain in GDP in Q2 and a robust labour market. The economy has proven strong enough to bear sharp rate hikes and Governor Orr is looking for a peak in inflation before easing up on rates.
September was a disaster for the New Zealand dollar, which plunged a staggering 8.5% and fell to its lowest level since March 2020. NZD/USD has rebounded 2.0% in October, but the currency faces significant headwinds. The escalating conflict in Ukraine, which has seen President Putin annex 15% of Ukrainian territory, and a hawkish Federal Reserve are likely to continue weighing on the New Zealand dollar in the short term.
- NZD/USD is testing support at 0.5712. Below, there is weak support at 0.5639, followed by 0.5522
- There is resistance at 0.5829 and 0.5902
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