The Pound New Zealand Dollar (GBP/NZD) exchange rate jumped last week as news emerged that Jacina Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, was planning to resign before 7 February. Subsequently, Pound (GBP) weakness depressed GBP/NZD as UK retail sales disappointed.
At the time of writing, GBP/NZD is trading at NZ$1.9155, 1.13% lower than today’s opening levels.
The Pound (GBP) traded in a mixed range at the beginning of last week, subdued on Monday by a lack of significant UK data. Further capping gains for Sterling were recession fears as the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos got underway, marking the first meeting since the pandemic for many attendees.
On Tuesday, GBP enjoyed a slight uptick in several exchange rates as UK wage growth printed above expectations, increasing pressure upon the Bank of England (BoE) to raise interest rates.
Midweek, the Pound peaked as annualised inflation data printed as expected but core consumer prices exceeded expectations. The mixed release suggests that inflationary pressures in the UK remain persistent and may further encourage the BoE to stick with policy tightening measures.
A risk-off market mood pressured GBP on Thursday, but Sterling avoided significant losses as markets bet on a 50bps increase at the Bank of England’s February meeting. In the Pound New Zealand Dollar exchange rate, the currency also benefitted from NZD weakness.
At the end of the week, the Pound retreated against the ‘Kiwi’ and several other currencies as UK retail sales were revealed to have declined in December.
Heather Bovill, deputy director for surveys and economic indicators at the ONS, observed: ‘After last month’s boost as shoppers stocked up early, food sales fell back again in December with supermarkets reporting this was due to increased food prices and the rising cost of living.’
The New Zealand Dollar (NZD) rose against the Pound on Monday despite a tepid market mood. The currency may have been buoyed by the closure of US markets for Martin Luther King Day, which prevented the US Dollar (USD) from climbing significantly and pressuring its rival.
NZD gains were extended overnight by better-than-expected consumer confidence data from Australia: the positive correlation between the currencies means Australian Dollar (AUD) tailwinds invariably support the ‘Kiwi’.
Into Tuesday, the New Zealand Dollar weakened somewhat, as impressive Chinese data failed to sustain NZD momentum. An uptick in the Pound brought GBP/NZD lower, but the ‘Kiwi’ recouped some of its losses toward the end of the European session and into Wednesday.
Another upbeat release from China helped bolster NZD midweek, but the New Zealand Dollar subsequently fell against the Pound once more as the UK’s inflation data was released. A lack of significant NZ data left the currency exposed to losses alongside an increasingly risk-off mood.
On Thursday, the ‘Kiwi’ plummeted amid twin headwinds: Australian employment data disappointed, affecting both the ‘Aussie’ and its sister currency; and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced she’d be stepping down before 8 February.
On Friday, a risk-on mood supported the Antipodean currency: Thursday evening’s worse-than-expected business PMI appeared to have little effect on trading sentiment. Moreover, China’s loan prime rates printed as forecast, offering no unpleasant surprises.
Into this week, a flux of New Zealand data is likely to influence the GBP/NZD exchange rate.
At the beginning of the week, the country’s private sector services and manufacturing PMIs are both expected to print in contraction territory, possibly denting the currency; subsequently, New Zealand’s inflation rate looks to have softened in Q4, increasing the likelihood of easing monetary policy from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ).
Conversely, Australian inflation is expected to have increased according to data due to print on Wednesday. If this is indeed the case, AUD tailwinds may help to buoy the ‘Kiwi’.
The CBI’s distributive trades release may depress Sterling exchange rates on Thursday, as the data is expected to print at –16. At the end of the week, New Zealand’s business confidence could either impress or disappoint: it is expected to improve from January’s -70.2 but remain well into negative territory.
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