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During a televised news conference on Wednesday, New Zealand (NZ) Prime Minister (PM) Jacinda Ardern announced that her government could lift all social distancing measures to return the country to normal life, as early as next week.

Additional comments

Will decide on Monday whether the country is ready to shift to alert level 1, more than two months after she imposed a strict level 4 lockdown.

waiting until Monday would allow her to see if recent changes, like the removal of restrictions on the number of people in bars and at social gatherings, had led to a rise in cases.

If it hasn’t, then we will be in a good position to move.

It’s worth noting that New Zealand has recorded no new cases of coronavirus for a 12th consecutive day on Wednesday and has just one active case.

Market reaction

The kiwi is off the highs and defends the 0.63 handle ahead of the European open. The risk-on mood and oil-price rally keep the sentiment underpinned around the spot.