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NZ Dollar Falls On Weak Retail Sales Data

The New Zealand dollar weakened against other major currencies in the Asian session on Friday, after data showed that the nations' retail sales growth rose less than expected in the fourth quarter.

Data from Statistics New Zealand showed that New Zealand retail sales growth stabilized in the fourth quarter. The retail sales volume climbed by adjusted 0.8 percent in the December quarter, similar to the September quarter growth but slower than June quarter's 2.2 percent increase.

Economists had forecast 1 percent growth for the December quarter.

Data from he BNZ - BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index showed that New Zealand's manufacturing sector registered a slower growth in January. The PMI dropped by 2.6 points from prior month to 51.6 in January, the lowest since January 2015. However, the sector has remained in expansion in almost all months since October 2012.

Meanwhile, most Asian stock markets traded lower with investors taking profits following the recent strong gains and also tracking the lackluster cues overnight from Wall Street.

Investors also digested news that Samsung Group's Lee Jae-yong was formally arrested over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Lee is the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co. and heir apparent of the Samsung Group.

Thursday, the NZ dollar showed mixed trading against its major rivals. While the NZ dollar rose against the yen and the Australian dollar, it fell against the U.S. dollar and the euro.

In the Asian trading, the NZ dollar fell to a 4-day low of 1.4819 against the euro, from yesterday's closing value of 1.4790. The kiwi may test support near the 1.50 region.

Against the yen, the kiwi dropped to 81.60 from yesterday's closing value of 81.93. This may be compared to an early 3-day low of 81.51. On the downside, 80.00 is seen as the next support level for the yen.

Against the U.S. and the Australian dollars, the kiwi dropped to a 2-day low of 0.7200 and nearly a 4-month low of 1.0708 from yesterday's closing quotes of 0.7214 and 1.0662, respectively. If the kiwi extends its downtrend, it is likely to find support around 0.70 against the greenback and 1.08 against the aussie.

Looking ahead, U.K. retail sales data for January is due to be released at 4:30 am ET.

In the New York session, Canada foreign securities purchases data for December and U.S. Baker Hughes rig count data are slated for release.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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