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NZD/JPY scales 103-month peak as RBNZ holds rates, but keeps hawkish bias

The NZD/JPY currency pair briefly touched a fresh 103-month high on Wednesday, after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand warned that further policy tightening might be required in case price pressures did not abate.

The central bank left its official cash rate without change at 5.5% at its November meeting, in line with market expectations. This way, the rate pause was extended for a fourth consecutive meeting.

Although the RBNZ policy makers remained confident that the current OCR level was restricting demand, ongoing excess demand and cost pressures were of concern as core inflation was still elevated.

The RBNZ Board agreed that the OCR would have to stay at a restrictive level for some time in order to drive inflation back down to the target range of 1% to 3% and support sustainable employment.

“If inflationary pressures were to be stronger than anticipated, the OCR would likely need to increase further,” the RBNZ said in a statement.

The RBNZ also revised up its forecast official cash rate peak to 5.7%. Still, the Board noted it had to wait for further data to observe the speed and extent of easing in domestic capacity pressures.

Meanwhile, Yen traders will be paying attention to an upcoming set of Japanese macro data, including unemployment, retail sales and industrial production figures for October.

Japan’s rate of unemployment probably remained steady at 2.6% last month, according to a consensus of analyst estimates.

As of 8:43 GMT on Wednesday NZD/JPY was edging up 0.44% to trade at 90.880. Earlier in the session, the minor Forex pair went up as high as 91.219. The latter has been the pair’s strongest level since April 30th 2015 (91.375).

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