The Opening Bell: Where currencies start on Monday, May 29, 2017

By Dan Bell

The NZDUSD opens at 0.7041 (mid-rate) this morning.

The Kiwi opens higher against all its major competitors except the Japanese Yen, and above key psychological level of 0.7000 versus the U.S. dollar.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced the April advance report on manufacturers’ shipments, inventories and orders on Friday night. New Orders for manufactured durable goods in April decreased $1.6 billion or 0.7% to $231.2 billion. This decrease down, following four consecutive monthly increases, followed a 2.3% March increase.

May 26 U.S. economic growth slowed less sharply in the first quarter than initially thought, but the weakness was likely an aberration amid a strong labor market that is near full employment. Gross domestic product increased at a 1.2% annual rate instead of the 0.7% pace reported last month, the Commerce Department said in its second estimate on Friday. That was the weakest performance in a year (since Q1 2016) and followed a 2.1% rate of expansion in the fourth quarter. The government revised up its initial estimate of consumer spending growth, but said inventory investment was far smaller than previously.

The first-quarter weakness is a blow to President Donald Trump’s ambitious goal to sharply boost economic growth. During the 2016 presidential campaign Trump had vowed to lift annual GDP growth to 4 percent, though administration officials now see 3 percent as more realistic.

U.S. Consumers were less optimistic than expected during the month of May, new figures showed on Friday. The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index hit 97.1 for its final reading in May. Economists expected the index to reach 97.5, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate, down from a preliminary reading of 97.7.

Bank Holidays today in the U.S., China and the U.K.

Global equity markets are broadly higher – Dow +0.01%, S&P 500 +0.03%, FTSE +0.40%, DAX -0.15%, CAC -0.01%, Nikkei -0.64% Shanghai +0.07%.

Gold prices are up $9 or 0.7% trading at $1,264 an ounce .WTI Crude Oil prices have plummeted 2.2% to be trading at $49.80 a barrel.

Current indicative rates:

NZDUSD       0.7041       0.2%
NZDEUR       0.6303       0.6%
NZDGBP       0.5449       0.4%
NZDJPY         78.33       -0.2%
NZDAUD       0.9461       0.4%
NZDCAD       0.9473       0.0%
GBPNZD       1.7843      -0.3%


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Dan Bell is the senior currency strategist at HiFX in Auckland. You can contact him here »

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