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Australia, NZ dollars near 3-week lows; market pares bets on RBA hike

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 11:26

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The Australian dollar stayed under pressure on Wednesday, after four straight sessions of losses, as traders read the latest commentary from the country's central bank as slightly dovish.

[SYDNEY] The Australian dollar stayed under pressure on Wednesday, after four straight sessions of losses, as traders read the latest commentary from the country's central bank as slightly dovish.

The Australian dollar held at US$0.7570, not far from a three-week low of US$0.7545 hit on Tuesday after the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) monetary policy statement. Analysts see key chart support at US$0.7500.

The RBA left official cash rates at a record low 1.5 per cent, but described the labour market as "soft" from "mixed" recently.

The jobless rate is at a 13-month high, while employment growth is heavily skewed toward part-time work.

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Market voices on:

RBA governor Philip Lowe said an improvement in the labour market was needed, before the central bank can be confident the overall economy was strengthening.

That comment has quieted many Aussie dollar bulls and prompted the futures market to push back the chance of a rate hike to early next year.

"It's too early to be thinking about hikes as unemployment and underemployment... are way too high. This is maintaining downward pressure on wages growth," said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital.

"The A$ remains too high, underlying inflation risks staying below target for longer and there are risks around economic growth."

Investors were also monitoring the impact of supply disruptions on exports of coal caused by a devastating cyclone in Australia's north-east.

Elsewhere, the Aussie was near four-month lows on the yen , dragged down by increased demand for safer assets as global risk appetites dwindle.

There were concerns about an upcoming China-US summit, as well as ongoing uncertainties about US President Donald Trump's ability to implement his promised policies.

The New Zealand dollar stood at US$0.6979, after dropping 0.5 per cent to a three-week low of US$0.6970 in the previous session. Technical analysts see strong chart support around US$0.6900.

As global risk sentiment dominated, investors largely ignored a tick up in the price of milk at the latest dairy auction.

The kiwi rose slightly immediately after the auction, but fell soon after.

New Zealand government bonds eased, sending yields three basis points higher at the long end of the curve.

Australian government bond futures were mixed, with the three-year bond contract up two ticks at 98.130. The 10-year contract stood unchanged at 97.3600.

REUTERS

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