NZD/USD surrenders modest intraday gains amid the emergence of some buying around the USD. Thursday’s upbeat US macro data fuels hawkish Fed expectations and underpins the greenback. A positive risk tone acts as a headwind for the buck and offers support to the risk-sensitive Kiwi. The NZD/USD pair continues with its struggle to find acceptance above the 0.6500 psychological mark and seesaws between tepid gains/minor losses on Friday. The pair trades around the 0.6485-0.6480 region during the early European session and remains well within a familiar trading range.
A modest US Dollar strength is seen as a key factor acting as a headwind for the NZD/USD pair, though a generally positive tone around the equity markets limits the downside for the risk-sensitive Kiwi. The greenback draws some support from the mostly upbeat US macro data released on Thursday, which backs the case for the Fed to maintain its hawkish stance for longer. This leads to a further recovery in the US Treasury bond yields and underpins the buck.
The robust economic indicators, meanwhile, boost investors' confidence and acts as a headwind for the safe-haven greenback. Furthermore, the markets still seem convinced that the US central bank will slow the pace of its policy tightening. The CME's FedWatch Tool points to a nearly 90% probability for a smaller 25 bps rate hike at the upcoming FOMC meeting next week. This further contributes to capping the greenback and lends support to the NZD/USD pair.
Traders might also be reluctant to place aggressive bets and prefer to wait for the release of the US Core PCE Price Index - the Fed's preferred inflation gauge. This, along with the US bond yields and the broader risk sentiment, might influence the USD and provide some impetus to the NZD/USD pair. The fundamental backdrop, meanwhile, warrants some caution before confirming that the pair has topped out and positioning for any meaningful corrective pullback.