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Australia, NZ dollars dip as greenback gets yield boost

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[SYDNEY] The Australian and New Zealand dollars slipped on Friday for a third straight session as surging US bond yields gave the greenback a broad boost and overshadowed further gains in key commodity prices.

The Australian dollar hit a two-week low of US$0.7560 in afternoon trading, before paring losses to last trade at US$0.7598.

It had touched a more than six-month high on Tuesday, but is now set for its worst weekly drop since July 22.

Its US counterpart has caught an updraught from rising Treasury yields amid speculation the policies of President-elect Donald Trump could reignite inflation.

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Yields on 10-year Treasuries have jumped 33 basis points so far this week, pressuring emerging market currencies across Asia as well as the Antipodean currencies.

The Aussie had been on an upswing recently led by a rebound in the price of iron ore and coal - Australia's two biggest exports. Iron ore alone has climbed 33 per cent in the past month.

Yet media reports that China's securities regulator was trying to take the heat out of the market by banning futures brokers from providing margin financing hit sentiment on Friday.

"This may be a short-term AUD negative," said Chris Weston, chief strategist at IG Markets.

Market attention will shift to local events next week with the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Phil Lowe due to speak on Tuesday, followed by jobs and wage reports.

"It is likely that Lowe will be questioned on the Trump win and how the RBA sees that impacting the economy," said Michael Blythe, chief economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The Aussie underperformed its New Zealand cousin, as well as the euro and the yen. The New Zealand dollar was down a touch at US$0.7202, having earlier touched a low of US$0.7188. The kiwi is down 1.7 per cent far this week, after gains in the last three weeks.

While investors expect heightened volatility in the near-term, New Zealand's strong economic growth and a central bank indication that it was done cutting rates helped curb losses.

New Zealand government bonds sank, sending yields three basis points higher at the short end of the curve and 11 points higher at the long end of the curve.

The rout in US Treasuries spilled over in Australian bonds with yields 10-year paper hitting their highest in over six months and up 24 basis points for the week.

The three-year bond futures were down four ticks at 98.23 on Friday, while the 10-year contract skidded 7.5 ticks to 97.455 as yield curves steepened globally.

REUTERS

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