During early Asian trading on Friday, the New Zealand dollar showed weakness against its major rivals following a report showed that the nation’s retail sales in April rose less-than analysts had predicted.
The New Zealand dollar plunged to an 8-day low against the Australian dollar and a 2-day low versus the currencies of U.S. and Japan.
Overall retail sales in New Zealand increased a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent in the March 2010 quarter, according to a report Friday from Statistics New Zealand. Analysts had expected a 1.1 increase of retail sales in the quarter.
A share increase in motor vehicle retailing and fuel sales pushed the figure higher.
The agency said core retail sales, which exclude four vehicle-related industries, declined 0.7 percent from the preceding quarter.
For the stand-alone month of march, seasonally adjusted total retail sales totaled NZ$30 million, an increase of 0.5 percent from February. Analysts had predicted a 1.4 percent increase.
On the equity front, the New Zealand share market opened slightly lower today, following a negative lead from Wall Street, where major US averages closed lower overnight despite encouraging economic data and attractive corporate earnings reports.
The benchmark NZX 50 index dropped slightly by 5.37 points or 0.17% to 3,190.43 shortly after the market opened. Meanwhile, the broader NZX All Capital index gave up 3.91 points or 0.12% to be at 3,195.93.
The kiwi slumped to an 8-day low of 1.2599 against the aussie before recovering some gains around 7:30 pm ET. On the downside, 1.2615 is seen as the next likely support for the New Zealand currency. The aussie-kiwi pair that closed yesterday’s deals at 1.2547 is presently quoted at 1.2583.
The New Zealand dollar also edged lower against the currencies of U.S. and Japan at the same time, sinking to a 2-day low of 0.7114 and 65.87, respectively. On the downside, the kiwi may find target levels at 0.7010 against the greenback and 64.0 versus the yen.
The New Zealand dollar that was worth 66.34 against the yen and 0.7151 versus the buck at Thursday’s North American session close is currently quoted at 0.7122 and 66.04, respectively.
Pulling back from yesterday’s new multi-year high, the New Zealand dollar slipped to a low of 1.7630 against the euro before moving sideways around 8:15 pm ET. The euro-kiwi pair that finished Thursday’s North American deals at 1.7549 is presently quoted at 1.7609.
Looking ahead, the final figures of Italian consumer price index for April is slated for release in the upcoming European session.
Across the Atlantic, the US retail sales and industrial production for April, business inventories for March and the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer confidence data for May are expected in the North American session.