Investing.com - The New Zealand rallied to a more than two-week high against its U.S. counterpart on Friday, as investors reacted to a report showing that the U.S. economy added more jobs than expected last month, but also revealed weaker earnings growth and a drop in labor force participation.
NZD/USD rose to 0.8670 on Friday, the pair’s highest since April 15, before subsequently consolidating at 0.8664 by close of trade, up 0.36% for the day and 0.96% higher for the week.
The pair is likely to find support at 0.8591, the low from May 2 and resistance at 0.8688, the high from April 15.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, well above expectations for jobs growth of 210,000. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a five-and-a-half year low of 6.3%, compared to expectations for 6.6%.
But optimism was tempered after the report also showed that the labor force participation rate, which measures the proportion of people either working or looking for work, fell to 62.8% from 63.2% in March. Meanwhile, average wage growth edged lower in April from the same month a year earlier, dampening the medium term inflation outlook.
Earlier in the week, preliminary data showed that U.S. gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of just 0.1% in the first three months of the year, well below forecasts for an expansion of 1.2%.
Despite the sharp slowdown in growth the Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would reduce its bond purchases to $45 billion a month. The Fed also said interest rates would remain on hold at record lows for a "considerable time" after the bond-buying program ends later this year.
The U.S. central bank acknowledged that first quarter growth was far weaker than expected, but added that growth had started to pick up in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, heightened tensions between Moscow and the West remained in focus as Ukraine''s army and pro-Russian rebels continued to skirmish on Friday, stoking fears that the crisis will develop and drag the U.S. deeper into the standoff.
The United Nation’s Security Council met about Ukraine on Friday in an emergency session, while U.S. President Barack Obama threatened to slap fresh sanctions on Russia if Moscow disrupts Ukrainian elections scheduled for May 25.
The West is accusing Russia of leading a separatist revolt in eastern Ukraine after it annexed Crimea last month.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that speculators decreased their bullish bets on the New Zealand dollar in the week ending April 29.
Net longs totaled 18,480 contracts as of last week, compared to net longs of 20,175 contracts in the previous week.
In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to Monday’s report on U.S. service sector activity and Wednesday’s testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen on monetary policy and the economy.
Employment data out of New Zealand scheduled for Wednesday will also be in focus.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Monday, May 5
China is to publish the final reading of its HSBC manufacturing index for April. The Asian nation is New Zealand’s second largest export partner.
In the U.S., the Institute of Supply Management is to publish a report on service sector activity.
Tuesday, May 6
The U.S. is to release data on the trade balance.
Wednesday, May 7
New Zealand is to release data on the change in the number of people employed and the unemployment rate.
Later Wednesday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen is to testify before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, in Washington.
Thursday, May 8
The U.S. is to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims.
Friday, May 9
China is to produce a report on consumer price inflation.