The New Zealand dollar has extended its losses on Monday, after a dismal end to the week. In the European session, NZD/USD is trading at 0.6151, down 0.20%. Earlier, NZD/USD touched a low of 0.6131, its lowest level since Nov. 23.
The US dollar flexed its muscles against the majors on Friday, courtesy of a sharp rise in the US personal consumption expenditures price index (PCE), the Fed’s preferred inflation indicator. Headline PCE inflation climbed 0.6% m/m in January, up from 0.2% in December and above the estimate of 0.5%. Core PCE inflation also rose 0.6% m/m, above the December reading of 0.4%, which was also the forecast. As well, Personal Spending in January surged 1.8%, compared to -0.1% in December and an estimate of 1.3%.
The uptake from the better-than-expected inflation and consumer data is that the economy remains resilient and the Fed may have to raise rates even higher, perhaps closer to 6%. The markets have quickly shifted from expecting a hold in rate cuts to pricing three more rate increases this year, and the US dollar is showing gains on expectations that more rate hikes are coming. Following the PCE release, Fed member Mester said she wasn’t surprised by the strong numbers and said that the Fed needed to do more to put inflation on a “sustainable downward path to 2%”.
New Zealand retail sales decline
In New Zealand, retail sales for Q4 disappointed at -0.6% q/q, down from an upwardly revised 0.6% reading in Q3 and shy of the estimate of 1.5%. This marks the third decline in four quarters. The core rate fell by 1.3%, compared to an upwardly revised 0.6% in Q3 and an estimate of 1.5%. The central bank remains in aggressive mode and raised rates by 0.50% last week, bringing the cash rate to 4.75%. The decline in retail sales signals that the extensive tightening is taking a bite out of economic activity, which is necessary in order for inflation to decline.
- 0.6124 is under pressure in support. Below, there is support at 0.6049
- 0.6193 and 0.6245 are the next resistance lines
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