NZ dollar edges lower on worries about Aust coal exports

Sunday, 24 Feb, 2019

The sell-off in U.S. treasury bonds was accompanied by a one per cent fall in the gold price to $US1324 an ounce, a worrying sign the global USA dollar shortage that knocked the global financial system late previous year had begun to have an impact.

China's yuan rose after Washington pressed Beijing to prevent a sharp weakening of its currency as part of any trade deal.

For several weeks, China has been targeting Australian coal imports by slowing down customs clearance, resulting in delays at ports and stoking speculation that Beijing is retaliating against a ban on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Company.

However potentially dominating the attention of AUD investors next week will be the state of US-China trade talks, with the US now set to increases tariffs next Friday unless there is some kind of Breakthrough.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the United States would impose tariffs on European auto imports if it can not reach a trade deal with the European Union.

However, concerns persist over the lack of liquidity in the spot market and therefore its transparency, though the emergence of trading platforms such as Global Coal in recent years have improved things.

On Wall Street, all three major USA equity indexes ended in positive territory on Wednesday after minutes from the Fed's January 29-30 meeting indicated policymakers see little risk to leaving rates alone, for now.

Moving ahead, today's U.S. economic docket, highlighting the release of durable goods orders data, might influence the United States dollars price dynamics and produce some meaningful trading opportunities later during the early North-American session.

ANZ strategists said Chinese coal restrictions weren't new.

The Fed kept rates unchanged during last month's meeting, and said it will be patient about increasing rates in the future.

The Fed signaled it will soon lay out a plan to stop letting go of $4 trillion in bonds and other assets, though policymakers are still debating how long their newly adopted "patient" stance on USA rates will last.

The Australian dollar steadied, boosted by upbeat central bank comments on the economy and government comments on the ban, but was still holding most of its losses from Thursday.

Customs at China's northern port of Dalian has banned imports of Australian coal and will cap overall coal imports from all sources to the end of 2019 at 12 million tonnes.

The euro held steady at $1.1331. German business morale fell for a sixth month in a row, to its lowest in over four years, a survey showed. Yancoal closed 2.8 per cent weaker, New Hope lost 3.3 per cent, Stanmore Coal was down 2 per cent and Coronado Coal was off 3 per cent. Glencore, a major coal producer, was down more than 3 per cent in London on Thursday night but BHP Billiton stock was steady.

Brent crude oil hit a 2019 high, supported by OPEC's ongoing supply cuts.

The greenback so far this week has fallen 0.4 percent, after gaining more than 1 percent the previous week, highlighting an uneven performance amid a mixed batch of US economic reports.

The news sent the Chinese currency higher by 0.5 percent to 6.7248, its highest since February 1.

The British pound extended its overnight rally and surged to a two-week high of 1.3077 on Wednesday, before easing to trade down 0.2 percent to 1.3028.

Gold was steady at $1,338.50, close to a 10-month peak of $1,346.70 scaled on Wednesday.