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Australia, NZ dollars find risk relief before US election
[SYDNEY] The Australian dollar climbed against the yen and euro on Monday, as risk appetite got a boost from news the FBI said no charges would arise from the latest email saga surrounding US presidential contender Hillary Clinton.
The Aussie gained 0.9 per cent against the yen, not far from a more than three-month high touched last week. It also did well against the euro and the pound.
It held steady against its US counterpart around US$0.7672 after earlier rising to a high of US$0.7708, a level it has breached several times since July but failed to hold above.
The US dollar rallied against yen and euro after the FBI review. News favouring Democrat Hillary Clinton's bid boosted risk appetite as markets see her as the status quo candidate.
"It's likely the Aussie will remain relatively contained, but susceptible to any pre-election jitters," said Stephen Innes, senior currency trader at Oanda Australia and Asia Pacific.
The US presidential elections have dominated market sentiment in recent weeks with Mrs Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump neck and neck in some opinion polls ahead of the Nov 8 presidential election.
Markets are nervous about a Trump victory as there is a high degree of uncertainty about his policies on geopolitics, immigration and free trade.
"If Clinton wins, the USD can recover some of its recent losses as US political uncertainty abates and the focus shifts to the rising prospect of a December rate hike," said Elias Haddad, senior currency strategist at CBA.
Futures markets imply a near 67 per cent chance of an increase in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve in December.
The New Zealand dollar touched a 1-1/2-month high of US$0.7362 on Monday but soon edged lower to trade at US$0.7323.
Investors were cautious ahead of the US elections and a Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) rates decision on Thursday.
The RBNZ has all but committed itself to at least one more easing, which is why 30 out of 33 economists polled by Reuters expect rates to be cut by 25 basis points to an all-time low of 1.75 per cent on Nov 10.
"Upward momentum is strong, but US$0.7370 should be a barrier ahead of the US elections," said Imre Speizer, Westpac senior market strategist.
The kiwi rose 2.3 per cent last week on a slew of positive data that bolstered expectations that the RBNZ's easing cycle might come to an end after this week.
New Zealand government bonds eased, sending yields 1.5 basis points higher along much of the curve.
Australian government bond futures slipped, with the three-year bond contract and the 10-year contract down two ticks each at 98.30 and 97.68, respectively.