_iNVEZZ.com: Thursday, March 27th:_ The NZD/USD has risen today following upbeat trade balance data from New Zealand. The pair has reached 0.8662 – its highest point since 11 April and at press time is trading at 0.8661, up 0.60 percent for the day and 1.23 percent higher so far this week.
Statistics New Zealand at 21:45 UTC yesterday reported the largest ever trade balance surplus for the month of February with milk powder, butter and cheese boosting exports. Increasing exports to China also helped. The surplus was the highest since April 2011.
The trade surplus amounted to NZ$818 million last month, following a NZ$286 million surplus in January, revised down from NZ$306 million. In February 2013 the surplus was NZ$432 million. The annual trade balance for the year to February was a surplus of NZ$649 million, or 1.3 percent of exports. Analysts had expected a surplus of NZ$600 million in February.
Exports jumped 17 percent to NZ$4.56 billion from January and rose 7.6 percent to $49.43 billion in the twelve months to February. Exports to China climbed 49 percent to NZ$1.17 billion in February, and grew 53 percent to NZ$10.93 billion annually, or 22 percent of all exports. Imports from China also increased – by 0.7 percent to NZ$647 million in February, and 6.3 percent annually to NZ$8.3 billion.
Sales to China, the second largest economy in the world and New Zealand’s biggest trading partner, were led by whole milk powder, pine logs and sheep meat. China bought about 44 percent of milk powder, butter and cheese exports.
“China has become an increasingly important destination for many of New Zealand’s key commodity exports with strong demand supporting higher prices,” Westpac Banking Corporation senior economist Anne Boniface writes in a note. “In turn, high international prices for New Zealand’s key commodity exports have boosted incomes, particularly in the rural sector.”
New Zealand’s milk powder, butter and cheese exports grew 38 percent to NZ$1.57 billion in February and by 26 percent annually to $14.45 billion.
Imports rose eight percent to NZ$3.74 billion last month and were up 3.7 percent to $48.78 billion in the twelve months to February. Imports were led by petroleum and products.
In the US, data for last week’s unemployment claims is due out at 12:30 UTC today, along with the final estimate of Q4 GDP. US pending home sales for February is due out at 14:00 UTC.
Resistances today: 0.8635, 0.8655 and 0.8675.
Supports: 0.8580, 0.8560 and 0.8535.