The visible hand in economics

New Zealand Currency in Free Fall

Posted on: August 16, 2007

So the NZ currency is currently at $0.705US, implying that it has fallen $0.105US in two weeks. What the hell is going on?

As far as I can tell, investors in the US are nervous about some perceived economic contagion from the troubles in the sub-prime mortgage market. As a result of this economic uncertainty in the US, everyone has become significantly more risk averse in their investment behaviour, and in currency markets a ‘flight to quality’ has begun. The quality in this case is US dollars and the Yen.

So the economic situation in the US looks weak, and their dollar has appreciated against ours, messed up aye. Still, for that very reason I don’t think that this is sustainable. The fundamentals that drove our currency to $0.81US still remain in place, robust economic growth, strong world growth, awesome soft commodity prices, and comparatively high interest rates. I’m certain we will hit $0.76US again in the near future, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we hit $0.78US before September. $0.81US was a bit ridiculous, but I think we have fallen a bit past fair value.

Update: Now we are slipping under $0.69US, this reminds me of a famous Keynes quote “The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent”. Damn those animal spirits.

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