The New Zealand dollar is slightly lower on Tuesday. NZD/USD declined over 0.50% earlier but has pared most of these losses and is trading at 0.6240, down 0.20%.
RBNZ expected to hike by 50 bp
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand will meet on Wednesday, its first policy meeting this year. The Bank last met in November, at which time it hiked rates by a record 75 basis points, bringing the cash rate to 4.25%. There had been expectations of another 75-bp increase at tomorrow’s meeting, but Cyclone Gabrielle has thrown a monkey wrench into the decision. The cyclone, which caused damage in the billions of dollars, has raised concerns about the economy and the RBNZ is widely expected to lower gears and deliver a 50-bp increase. In the short term, the major disruptions from the cyclone are projected to raise inflation, which is already running at 7.2%, its highest level since 1990.
Aside from Gabrielle, there are signs that inflation may have peaked. Inflation Expectations eased in Q1 to 3.3%, down from 3.6% in Q4 2022. Inflation hit 7.2% in the final quarter of 2022, lower than the RBNZ’s forecast of 7.5%. The RBNZ still has its foot on the brake, but if inflation continues to head lower, we can expect the Bank to ease up on the pace of rates in the coming meetings.
In the US, we’ll get a look at the February PMI reports. Recent US numbers have beaten expectations, including employment growth, retail sales, and inflation. This is not a complete picture of the economy, as the services and manufacturing sectors have been in contraction territory for months, with readings below the 50.0 level. This negative trend is expected to continue, with Manufacturing PMI expected at 47.3 and Services PMI at 47.2 points.
- There is resistance at 0.6275 and 0.6357
- 0.6162 and 0.6080 are providing support
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