Bloomberg News

Kiwi Slumps Versus Yen, Dollar as Deficit Wider Than Forecast

September 26, 2011

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- New Zealand’s currency fell to the weakest in six months against the yen after a report showed the country’s trade deficit was wider than estimated, adding to signs of a slowdown in the South Pacific nation.

The kiwi, as the currency is nicknamed, dropped for a sixth day against its U.S. counterpart, the longest losing streak since September 2008. The Australian dollar slid to a nine-month low against the greenback as investors sought safety on concern European officials may fail to forestall a spiraling sovereign- debt crisis.

“For both Aussie and kiwi, the bias is lower,” said Thomas Harr, head of Asian currency strategy at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore. “Aussie and kiwi are derivative of global growth expectations and thereby also a lot of these concerns, and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.”

The New Zealand dollar dropped as much as 2 percent to 58.27 yen, the weakest since March 18, before trading at 59.01 yen at 1:22 p.m. in New York, down 0.9 percent from 59.46 on Sept. 23. It fell 0.6 percent to 77.19 U.S. cents, from 77.66 cents, after earlier touching 76.38 cents, the lowest level since April 1.

The Australian dollar declined 0.6 percent to 97.25 U.S. cents, from 97.79 cents at the end of last week. It earlier touched 96.22 cents, the least since Dec. 1. The Aussie slumped 0.8 percent to 74.31 yen after falling to 73.39 yen, the weakest level since July 6, 2010.

‘Tough Times’

New Zealand’s imports exceeded exports by NZ$641 million ($492 million) in August, Statistics New Zealand said today. That’s almost double the NZ$321 million median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. Shipments abroad fell for a fourth straight month.

New Zealand isn’t immune from the financial problems affecting the U.S. and Europe, and both regions are facing “tough times,” Prime Minister John Key told reporters in Wellington today. In an earlier interview with Television New Zealand he said a weaker currency will help the export sector.

The euro dropped to a decade low against the yen after finance ministers and central bankers who held weekend talks in Washington urged European officials to intensify efforts to contain their 18-month debt crisis as Greece teetered on the edge of default.

--With assistance from Allison Bennett in New York. Editors: Greg Storey, Dennis Fitzgerald

To contact the reporters on this story: Kristine Aquino in Singapore at kaquino1@bloomberg.net; Mariko Ishikawa in Tokyo at mishikawa9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dave Liedtka at dliedtka@bloomberg.net


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