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Australia, NZ dollars off lows, still at risk from USD bulls

Friday, December 30, 2016 - 09:27

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The Australian and New Zealand dollars inched higher in thin holiday trading on Friday but looked set to end December lower, extending their losing streak to a third straight month.

[SYDNEY] The Australian and New Zealand dollars inched higher in thin holiday trading on Friday but looked set to end December lower, extending their losing streak to a third straight month.

The biggest move came against the euro, which shot higher after computer-driven buying against the US dollar tripped stop-loss orders.

The single currency climbed 1.5 cents at one stage to touch A$1.4718, before fading back to A$1.4565.

Against its US counterpart, the Aussie was up 0.36 per cent at US$0.7238 and off a seven-month trough of US$0.7160 hit last week.

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The Aussie is still down nearly 2 per cent in December and 0.6 per cent for the year, its fourth straight annual loss.

Analysts expect more of the same in the New Year with the US currency and Treasury yields on an uptrend following Donald Trump's upset victory in the US presidential election last month.

Data showing the Australian economy shrank for the first time since 2011 in the third quarter, raising the spectre of a possible recession, has also weighed on the currency.

In comparison, the New Zealand dollar barely moved on Friday to stay at US$0.6965, not far from a seven-month low of US$0.6863 touched last week.

The kiwi is set to end the week 1.2 per cent higher after two straight losses. For the year, it is on track for a gain of 2 per cent following three consecutive years of negative returns.

While the antipodean currencies were hit heavily after the US election, the kiwi has been supported by a run of strong domestic economic data and a rally in the price of milk, the country's top export earner.

New Zealand government bonds rose, sending yields about three basis points lower across the curve.

Australian government bond futures eased, with the three-year bond contract and the 10-year contract off one tick each at 97.92 and 97.175 respectively.

REUTERS

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