NZ unemployment rate surprises with fall

New Zealand's unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to an 11-year-low in the second quarter while wages rose, new data shows, sending the domestic currency soaring and providing a boost for the Australian dollar as well.

The decline in the unemployment rate to 3.9 per cent - which is the lowest since the June 2008 quarter - reflected a fall in the number of unemployed males, Statistics New Zealand said.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the unemployment rate to rise to 4.3 per cent from 4.2 per cent in the previous quarter.

Wages rose 0.8 per cent - slightly faster than the 0.7 per cent expected in a Reuters poll.

Employment rose 0.8 per cent in the quarter, compared with a 0.2 per cent decline in the previous quarter and a 0.4 per cent rise in a Reuters poll.

Following the announcement, the New Zealand dollar shot up 0.7 per cent to as high as 65.85 US cents from lows of about 65.27 US cents before the release.

The Australian dollar jumped from 67.55 US cents to a high of 67.68 US cents during the same time.

All 16 economists polled by Reuters are expecting the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to cut the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points on Wednesday and keep the door open for more easing.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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