The Kiwi Dollar has made ground across the board gaining over 1% as yesterday’s closely watched inflation data came in above expectations. The Consumer Price Index was up 0.1% for the December quarter, with the annual number steady at 1.9%. While the result was below RBNZ forecasts of 2%, it was above market expectations of 1.8%. The result has perhaps dampened some views that a rate cut was likely later this year.
In other news, the Canadian Dollar was weaker after soft retail sales data, while the Japanese Yen also lost ground as the Bank of Japan kept its policy settings unchanged but once again lowered its inflation forecasts
US Government Shutdown Continues
Still no progress on the US Federal Government partial shutdown with even the White House now conceding it will take a severe toll on Q1-2019 growth. Meanwhile, trade war uncertainty continues to be the main influence on market sentiment with White House National Economic Council Director, Larry Kudlow, dispelling rumours that a planned meeting between trade representatives of the United States and China have been cancelled. Kudlow stressed that the two sides were on track to have very important high-level talks at the end of the month.
Pound at Two Month Highs
The British Pound continues to surprise many as it traded a two month high vs both the USD and EUR overnight. The threat of a no-deal Brexit appears to be becoming less likely with reports suggesting the Labour Party will support a proposal to extend the March 29 deadline. Of course the unknown is whether the EU would agree to the extension.
AUD Employment Today
The NZD/AUD cross rate made good gains yesterday as the NZD rallied on the local CPI result. The next big event for this currency pair is this afternoon’s employment report out of Australia. The labour market report will be closely watched, with the unemployment rate expected to be steady at 5.1%
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