SYDNEY: The New Zealand dollar slipped on Wednesday and bond markets rallied after the country’s central bank hiked rates by less than hawks had wagered on, though it also lifted forecasts for how far rates would ultimately have to rise.
The kiwi dollar eased to $0.6917, from $0.6943, and was testing support around $0.6910/15. A break below would likely see a retreat to the September trough of $0.6860. The Australian dollar was caught in the downdraught and dipped to $0.7217, threatening support under $0.7207.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) met most analysts expectations by raising its cash rate 25 basis points to 0.75%, but speculators had been long of the kiwi in hopes of a bigger move to 1.0%. Minutes of the meeting showed the central bank’s committee considered a faster pace of hikes, but chose to be cautious given the continuing pandemic and the very high levels of household debt.
That helped bonds rally and two-year swap rates fell 17 basis points to 2.2150%. Yields on 10-year bonds dropped 10 basis points to 2.495%.
The RBNZ also revised up the forecast path for rates in the future, seeing it at 1.5% by June compared to a previous call of 1.2%.