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Australia, New Zealand dollars rise as markets judge Clinton winner in US debate

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The Australian dollar bounced from early losses on Tuesday as investors seemed to judge Democrat Hillary Clinton as the winner of the first US presidential debate against Republican Donald Trump.

[SYDNEY] The Australian dollar bounced from early losses on Tuesday as investors seemed to judge Democrat Hillary Clinton as the winner of the first US presidential debate against Republican Donald Trump.

The Australian dollar was down about 0.2 per cent before the debate began but turned around to be up 0.33 per cent at US$0.7660 after it ended.

The Aussie is set to close the month in the black, after falling more than 1 per cent in August.

"The market has decided that the odds of Trump being victorious has receded slightly. The debate hasn't done anything to further improve his chances," said Ray Attrill, Global Co-Head of FX Strategy at National Australia Bank.

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"Given that the market seemed to have made that judgement, risk sentiment now seems to be reflecting in a firmer Aussie dollar," he added.

Markets have tended to see Mrs Clinton as the candidate of the status quo, while few are sure what a Trump presidency might mean for US foreign policy, trade and the domestic economy.

Opinion polls have shown the two candidates in a very tight race, with the latest Reuters/Ipsos polling showing Mrs Clinton ahead by 4 percentage points, with 41 per cent of likely voters.

When risk appetite is high, the Aussie is favoured as a carry currency with investors borrowing at low rates in yen or euros to buy higher yielding Australian assets.

In a sign of fading risk aversion, the US dollar edged up against a basket of currencies while the euro was steady.

The greenback sank 1.9 per cent on the peso, lifting the peso from an all-time trough hit in recent days on concerns that a Trump presidency would threaten Mexico's exports to the United States, its single biggest market.

The New Zealand dollar gained too, rising 0.3 per cent after hitting a one-month low on Monday.

The kiwi has fallen over the last two weeks mainly on expectations for interest rates to fall further and on a general uptick in global risk-aversion.

Still, the kiwi is one of the best performing major currencies this year, up nearly 7 per cent.

New Zealand government bonds gained, sending yields 1.5 basis points lower at the long end of the curve.

Australian government bond futures were mixed, with the three-year bond contract off 1 tick at 98.44. The 10-year contract rose 1.5 ticks to 98.035.

REUTERS

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