The New Zealand dollar rose after a North Korean official threatened to suspend nuclear talks with the United States.
The kiwi was trading at 68.43 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 68.16 at 8am; the trade-weighted index was at 74.25 points from 74.03.
North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, said his country has no intention to yield to US demands, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
It said the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be making an official announcement soon on his position regarding talks with the US.
“It’s a US dollar story,” says Annette Beacher, head of Asia-Pacific research at TD Securities in Singapore. She noted the Australian dollar had also risen on the news.
The kiwi was at 96.58 Australian cents from 96.50, while the Australian dollar was at 70.84 US cents from 70.62 at 8am in Wellington.
Earlier today, the BNZ-Business NZ performance of manufacturing index showed activity increased 0.7 of a point to a seasonally adjusted 53.7 in February from January and was up from a 53.5 reading in February last year. A reading above 50 indicates activity is expanding.
The market will be watching GDP data for the December quarter due out next Thursday to see whether economic activity justifies the currency remaining so strong.
News of shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, evidently by white supremacists, may have distracted traders but hasn’t impacted currency markets.
The New Zealand dollar was trading at 51.66 British pence from 51.51, at 60.46 euro cents from 60.32, at 76.39 yen from 76.17 and at 4.5978 Chinese yuan from 4.5816.
The two-year swap rate was at 1.8255 percent from 1.8185 on Thursday; the 10-year swap was at 2.3575 percent from 2.3425 – and up from Wednesday’s record low at 2.3150.