New Zealand’s dollar climbed to the highest level since exchange-rate controls ended in 1985 after a report showed the nation’s trade surplus widened by almost twice economists’ estimates to a record in April.
The so-called kiwi has risen 10 percent against the greenback in the past three months, the best performer among its 16 major counterparts, as Asian demand drove up prices for New Zealand’s milk, lumber and meat exports. Australia’s dollar touched a three-month low against its New Zealand counterpart amid signs the bigger nation’s economy is cooling.
“Resilience of the kiwi has been very impressive,” said Mitul Kotecha, Hong Kong-based head of global foreign-exchange strategy at Credit Agricole CIB, a unit of France’s second-biggest bank. “The numbers today from New Zealand are obviously helping out as the trade data was far stronger than the market had expected.”
The currency touched 82.19 U.S. cents, the strongest since 1985, before trading at 81.90 cents as of 1:39 p.m. in Wellington from 81.92 cents in New York on May 27. The previous record of 82.14 U.S. cents was reached in February 2008.
Australia’s dollar fell to $1.0694 from $1.0706 on May 27 in New York, after earlier rising to $1.0737, the highest since May 11. The currency was at NZ$1.3057 from NZ$1.3058 after earlier touching NZ$1.3019, the weakest level since Feb. 2. The Aussie fetched 86.44 yen from 86.49 yen.
Commodities Driving Surplus
Exports outpaced imports by NZ$1.11 billion from a revised NZ$578 million surplus in March, Statistics New Zealand said today in Wellington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists was for a NZ$600 million surplus.
Prices of New Zealand’s commodity exports gained for an eighth month to a record in April, according to an index calculated by ANZ National Bank Ltd.
Shipments have been bolstered by demand from China, which is New Zealand’s second-biggest export market after Australia. Exports to China surged 42 percent to NZ$5.39 billion ($4.4 billion) in the year ended March 31, according to government figures.
Gross operating profits at Australian companies declined 2 percent in the first quarter from the previous three months, when they dropped a revised 1.7 percent, the Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney today. That compares with the median forecast for a 2 percent increase in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.
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