The New Zealand dollar sank to an almost one-year low and its Canadian counterpart by roughly half a percent on Thursday as domestic concerns outweighed a bounce in oil prices for the commodity-focused currencies. The kiwi sank by as much as 1.5 percent after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand shocked markets by sticking with a neutral bias on policy, warning markets they were reading the outlook wrong and expressing approval of the currency’s falls this year.
In Canada, normally a big gainer when oil prices are rising, a downgrade of Canadian banks by ratings agency Moody’s sent the dollar lower. “The positive impact from Wednesday’s recovery in commodities has faded into Thursday, with central bank risk and rating agency downgrades casting a darker shadow,” said Joel Kruger, a strategist with currencies exchange LMAX.
“In New Zealand, the RBNZ struck a surprisingly dovish chord in its latest policy decision, while in Canada, Moody’s has come out with a downgrade of Canada’s big six.” By 0900 GMT, the kiwi was 1.35 percent lower on the day at $0.6848, having hit an 11-month low of $0.6818 earlier. The Canadian equivalent traded 0.4 percent weaker at $1.3712.
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The yen, U.S. dollar and euro were all holding in tight ranges, the dollar edging lower after notching an eight-week high against the yen in Asian trade. Sterling, a gainer in the past month following Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement of a snap election for June 8, was steady ahead of a closely watched “Super Thursday” of publications by the Bank of England.
The pound has struggled to climb past $1.30 this week, and there was little confidence among dealers of a signal from the Bank on Thursday that would send it higher, even as inflation tops policymakers’ 2 percent target. “I actually suspect sterling is looking a bit vulnerable here,” Ilya Spivak, a currency strategist with IG Group in London.
“The priced-in policy outlook has firmed up a bit in recent weeks. The data outcomes have stabilized somewhat … but the BOE is no more optimistic. They have said time and again that they are reluctant to take the data at face value because of Brexit-related worries.”