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Kiwi falls with Australian dollar

Monday 11 Feb 2013 9:55 p.m.

The New Zealand dollar followed its Australian counterpart lower after official figures showed Australian home lending shrank in December, in another sign of a slowing economy for New Zealand's biggest trading partner.

The Kiwi fell to 83.38 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 83.54 cents at 8am and 83.49 cents on Friday in New York. The Kiwi was almost unchanged at 80.91 Australian cents.

The number of loans granted to build or buy a house in Australia fell 1.5 percent in December from a revised 0.7 percent decline in November, according to the Statistics Bureau.

Even after a disappointing jobs report last week, New Zealand's economic fortunes are seen as improving this year, while Australia's are on the decline as its decade-long mining boom comes off the boil.

"The Kiwi data can be disappointing relative to expectations, but compared to the eurozone and Japan, it's still good," said Chris Tennent-Brown, FX economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

"The data is doing its best to give you a reason to sell the Kiwi."

Markets in China and Japan were closed for the lunar new year, leading to thinner trading volumes than usual.

New Zealand's currency fell to 77.13 yen from 77.40 yen last week and dropped to 62.33 euro cents from 62.50 cents.

The trade-weighted index decreased to 75.63 from 75.77.

NZN

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