The NZD/USD pair trims gains but is still comfortably above 0.6100. The stronger-than-expected labor market data might convince the Federal Reserve (Fed) to delay cutting rates this year, which caps the downside of the US Dollar (USD). Investors will closely watch the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decision later on Wednesday, with no change in rate expected. At press time, the NZD/USD pair is trading at 0.6135, adding 0.02% for the day.
Data released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday showed that the number of job openings in the United States rose to 9.026 million in December, above the November figure which was revised up to 8.925 million. Meanwhile, Conference Board Consumer Confidence surged to a two-year high in January, coming in at 114.8 in January versus 108.0 prior. Both reports failed to boost the Greenback as traders prefer to wait on the sidelines ahead of the FOMC meeting.
The FOMC is anticipated to leave its monetary conditions unaltered. The markets will focus on any hint of the timing of a potential interest rate cut from the Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference. The dovish remarks from Powell might exert some selling pressure on the USD and act as a headwind for the NZD/USD pair.
On the Kiwi front, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) Chief Economist Paul Conway maintained a hawkish stance and pushed back on rate cut expectations. Conway stated on Tuesday that recent economic data indicate that monetary policy is working as the economy slows and inflation eases. However, there is still some way to go before inflation reaches the target midpoint of 2%.
The US ADP Employment Change for January will be due on Wednesday, ahead of the FOMC interest rate decision and the press conference. On Friday, the attention will shift to US employment data, including Nonfarm Payrolls, and Unemployment Rate.