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NZD weaker as fears of US slowdown ease

The New Zealand dollar fell after upbeat US data and earnings reduced concerns about a possible slowdown there and helped stoke appetite for the greenback. 

The kiwi was trading at 66.49 US cents at 7:45am in Wellington from 66.71 at 5pm yesterday. The trade-weighted index was at 72.34 points from 72.42.

The greenback got a lift from data that showed sales of new single-family homes in the US jumped to a near 1-1/2-year high in March. Investors will now be keeping a close eye on Friday's US gross domestic product figures for a further steer on the health of the economy. 

Several better-than-expected corporate earnings reports also eased concerns about a possible slowdown in the US economy and pushed the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index toward record closing highs. 

Twitter Inc shares soared 16 percent after it posted better-than-expected quarterly revenue and a surprise rise in monthly active users, according to Reuters. Lockheed Martin Corp jumped 5.8 percent after it reported upbeat quarterly results and lifted its full-year profit forecast on strong demand for its missiles and fighter jets.

The US dollar index, which measures its strength against six major rivals, hit an intraday level at 97.78, its highest since June 2017. It was last at 97.627.

Domestically, attention will now shift to data in Australia, with the ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence survey, skilled vacancies, and first-quarter consumer price index all out today.

"If Australia’s CPI data for Q1 is as weak as the market expects this will put pressure on the RBA to cut rates," said ANZ FX/rates strategist Sandeep Parekh.  Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are expecting a quarterly rise of 0.2 percent and annual inflation of 1.5 percent. 

 "Markets will be eager to see if the print provides the RBA any reason to ease policy, or simply reinforces their current bias,"  adds Parekh.

The kiwi was trading at 93.69 Australian cents from 93.61 Australian cents. It was at  51.39 British pence from 51.36, at 59.24 euro cents from 59.29, at 74.36 Japanese yen from 74.62 and at 4.4714 Chinese yuan from 4.4777.

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