Singdollar off 2-week low, NZ currency strengthens as food price inflation rises

Food inflation in New Zealand went up 1.4% year-on-year in January to its highest since March 2015.

New Zealand dollar
New Zealand dollar notes and coins Reuters

Singapore dollar has edged higher on Tuesday (Feb 14), moving off a two-week low, as markets geared up for crucial data points due for this week including trade and retail sales numbers for January.

The New Zealand dollar too strengthened on Tuesday as data from there in the morning revealed acceleration in food prices.

Data showed on Tuesday that food inflation in New Zealand went up 1.4% year-on-year in January, its highest since March 2015, following a 0.6% rise in December. On a monthly basis, food prices jumped 2.8% after dropping 0.8% in December.

USD/SGD slipped to 1.4211 from the previous close of 1.4236, which was its weakest for the Singdollar.

NZD/USD rose to 0.7179 from Monday's close of 0.7176, but the three pips move is insignificant given the 200 pips drop from the Feb 7 high of 0.7376, which was a three-month high, to Monday's low which was a 3-week low for the kiwi.

Data from Singapore

Singapore will release the December retail sales figures on Wednesday and the forecast is for a 1% decline in the month-on-month rate from 0.5% growth in November. The year-on-year growth rate, however, is seen rising to 2.9% from 1%.

On Thursday, Statistics Singapore may confirm the preliminary growth numbers released on 3 January, according to which the island economy expanded 1.8% from a year earlier in the three months to December helped by a 9.1% sequential jump in the quarter.

The trade data for January, due for release on Friday, will also be a major event for this week. Analysts expect the trade surplus to narrow to $6.1 billion from $6.3 billion in December. The non-oil exports growth is seen plunging to 0.5% in year-on-year terms from 9.4% in November.

New Zealand dollar

The New Zealand dollar has edged higher on Tuesday helped by better than expected food inflation numbers but the currency has largely held the downtrend since 7 Feb, charts show.

Details showed that prices recovered for fruits and vegetables, which was up 3.1% after falling 0.8% in December and as non-alcoholic beverages rebounded to 0.8% rise from 0.5% drop.

Grocery food inflation rose to 1.8% 0.9% and restaurants meals and ready-to-eat food held the December rate of 1.8%.

However, cost fell for meat, poultry, and fish, which was down 1.1% steeper than the 0.2% drop in December.

USD/SGD Technical Outlook

The USD/SGD pair is testing a key resistance inside the downtrending channel began in January and a break above this will find next barrier at 1.43275.

A move beyond that will significantly weaken the Singdollar off last week's 5-month high targeting levels as high as 1.44300 and 1.4567, the 3 January peak for the pair.

In case of a reversal, the pair will find support near 1.4150 initially and then 1.4053, the 3 February low. Further south, 1.39645 will be an important level where the pair will be supported within the January-began downward channel.