Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

NZ dollar rises above 73 U.S. cents


US stock futures on Tuesday pointed to a decline at the open, with the tech sector under pressure again, as traders waited for a speech from Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen.

The dollar fell 0.1 per cent against a basket of six major currencies, though it hit a five-week high against the Japanese yen.

According to Williams prior to a dated speech in Sydney on Monday, three more rate hikes this year and around three or four next year would sustain the economy as long as the economic growth pushes through as expected by the Federal Reserve. But, he thinks the Fed will be more hawkish than what is now expected, which will support the USA dollar. Yes it's going to pay attention to the data, but less so. She said regulators are doing a better job of watching for the type of systemic risks that struck the global economy in 2008, bringing on the worst global downturn in seven decades.

"Let's not forget here: The U.S. expansion, while being soft, is actually pretty mature so the Fed is getting lined up here in preparation for the next downturn".

A positive view from Yellen despite a recent batch of weak US economic data would support the Fed's forecast for another rise in policy rates this year.

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The central bank raised rates this month for the second time this year and is expected to raise it again. "The U.S. equity market also hovers at a high level, but its performance is spotty with high-tech shares falling", said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo. She believes the extremely low USA unemployment rate, now at 4.3%, is likely to nudge inflation higher since companies will have to increase pay to attract or retain workers.

Oil prices rose for a fourth consecutive session, boosted by a weaker dollar and investors covering short positions, but worries over persistent oversupply capped gains. "We don't get a consistent story", she said. U.S. stocks were higher in early trading today, as technology stocks rose and oil prices climbed from last week's seven-month lows.

Yellen said the USA unemployment rate, which stands at a 16-year low of 4.3 percent, is "below the level that most of my colleagues believe is sustainable in the long run".

"I think we have a strong banking sector that's well capitalized and has a lot of liquidity", she said.

But she said another crisis can't be excluded, although she hoped "it will not be in our lifetime".

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