NZ Dollar Gains as Jobs Report Boosts RBNZ Rate Hike Bets
- New Zealand Dollar gained against its peers as a better-than-expected jobs report crossed the wires
- Unemployment fell to 4.9% versus 5.1% expected, job growth was 5.7% y/y versus 5.3% forecasted
- Local 2-year government bond yields rallied, which signaled growing RBNZ rate hike expectations
The New Zealand Dollar rallied against its major counterparts after a better-than-expected jobs report crossed the wires. New Zealand’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in the first quarter of 2017 against expectations of it lowering to 5.1%.
The number of employed positions grew by 5.7% y/y versus predictions of 5.3% growth. Quarterly readings for the same measurement also beat estimates at 1.2% versus 0.8% seen.
Not only did the country see lower unemployment and estimate-beating employment change, but also the labor force participation rate increased to 70.6% instead of estimates calling for it to hold at 70.5%.
New Zealand front-end government bond yields gained as the employment report was released, signaling firming RBNZ rate hike expectations. Overnight index swaps see an 80 percent probability that the central bank will increase its official cash rate once over the coming 12 months.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand noted that numerous uncertainties remain in its most recent monetary policy statement. While Governor Graeme Wheeler did not mention employment in the text, perhaps today’s upbeat employment report could be favorably cited at its next interest rate decision on May 10th.
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