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NZD/USD at 0.77c by the end of 2021?

NZD/USD at 0.77c by the end of 2021?

The New Zealand Dollar against the U.S Dollar has been a good barometer for the state of risk-on assets. It currently sits at around 0.7195, with technicals showing a possible strong move in the future. We now see a flat bottom wedge forming, with the wedge's completion seeing the NZD/USD make a violent move to the upside.

NZD/USD flat bottom wedge forming

Historically, the price is in an area prone to intense swings to the upside and the downside if we look left.  A move to the upside may finally bring 0.74c on the table, while a break of the flat bottom wedge before completion may see a move back to 0.70c. However, New Zealand's fortunate spot in eradicating the virus may allow tailwinds to support the technical possibilities.

Positive inflation numbers decrease the likelihood of further rate cuts

In the latter part of January this year, New Zealand's inflation numbers were better than expected at 1.2%, strongly surpassing analysts' forecasts of 0.2%. Jarrod Kerr, Chief Economist at Kiwibank in Auckland, stated that "the medium-term outlook for inflation looks stronger compared to just a few months ago."  Like many analysts, Jarrod has reversed his viewpoint for more RBNZ cuts this year. This comes as many New Zealand retail banks such as ANZ and Westpac see that New Zealand's sharp recovery due to successful Coronavirus measures is likely to affect further rate cuts coming down the line. Both banks have retracted their rate cut predictions.

Unemployment beats expectations

Analysts predicted a rise in employment in the past quarter, with the RBNZ predicting unemployment rising from 5.6% to 5.3%. However, with numbers showing a drop to 4.9%, any optimism in rate cuts has all but vanished. Capital Economics further emphasized their view that interest rates in New Zealand would rise from next year.

BNZ's Forecasts for RBNZ's Interest Rates

Both are no doubt positive for the New Zealand economy and its citizens. However, this will turn the New Zealand dollar into a missile. Stephen Toplis, Bank of New Zealand's head of research at Bank of New Zealand, stated that they are "formally building a rate hike [in their model] in May 2022" and that this may be "pouring fuel on the New Zealand Dollar that is already on fire." Many other senior economists are conveying the same viewpoint, with ASB's senior economist Mike Jones stating saying that the RBNZ's and fiscal stimulus "has done the trick, and no more is required."

With a surging house market, lower than expected unemployment, and higher than expected inflation, alongside favorable technical, the New Zealand dollar may be poised for a move upwards.