NZ dollar gains as Trump backtracks on his plans to attack Syria

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The New Zealand dollar has gained against the greenback after US President Donald Trump appeared to backtrack on his intention to attack Syria, reviving risk appetite and reducing demand for safe-haven currencies.

New New Zealand 10 dollar and 5 dollar notes and coins.

New Zealand currency (file picture).

Source: istock.com

The kiwi gained to US73.71 cents as at 8am in Wellington from 73.58c late Thursday.

It climbed to 79.06 yen, only the second time it has topped 79 yen since late February, from 78.68 yen.

The trade-weighted index rose to 75.65 from 75.43.

Mr Trump tweeted overnight he "never said when an attack on Syria would take place" in retaliation for Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against rebels in the country's civil war.

That allayed fears of an imminent strike that could have escalated to clashes with Russian forces supporting the al-Assad regime and heightened tensions in the Middle East.

Brent crude oil has edged up to as much as $US72.49 a barrel, the highest since November 2014.

"These developments have supported risk appetite a little and, additionally, speaking to lawmakers, Mr Trump sounded more optimistic on the US-China trade situation, buoyed by President Xi's speech earlier this week," Bank of New Zealand currency strategist Jason Wong said.

"Market movements have been modest although there is still a notable grind up in the NZD, supported by a better risk backdrop."

Mr Xi talked about an open economy and reduced trade barriers in a speech to an economic forum earlier this week.

Adding to more positive sentiment on trade, are reports Mr Trump has asked trade advisers to investigate a US return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and comments from Mr Trump that he is happy with progress over NAFTA negotiations.

In New Zealand today, traders will be watching for the March manufacturing PMI report, which is expected to show manufacturing remained in expansion mode last month.

The kiwi rose to A95.07c from A94.95c late on Thursday.

It rose to 59.80 euro cents from 59.53 euro cents after figures showed euro-area industrial production declined for the third straight month.

It traded at 51.82 British pence from 51.91 pence and rose to 4.6352 yuan from 4.6181 yuan.

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