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Australia, NZ dollars on track for solid weekly gains vs euro, USD

Friday, February 24, 2017 - 11:52

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The Australian and New Zealand dollars took a breather on Friday against their US counterpart after running into light profit-taking, while staying on track for solid weekly gains versus the euro.

[SYDNEY] The Australian and New Zealand dollars took a breather on Friday against their US counterpart after running into light profit-taking, while staying on track for solid weekly gains versus the euro.

The Australian dollar eased to US$0.7712, from a three-month peak of US$0.7741 on Thursday. Since November, it has met a wall of resistance around US$0.7707-US$0.7778. Yet, it was poised to show a 0.4 per cent weekly gain, partly due to broad US dollar weakness.

The Antipodean currencies also outperformed a soggy euro, showing weekly gains of 0.8 per cent. The euro stood at A$1.3719, having gone as deep as A$1.3619 on Wednesday, the lowest in three years.

The common currency is down 3.6 per cent so far this month, and if sustained, it would be the largest drop in more than a year. The euro has been hit on fears about anti-European Union rhetoric from right-wing French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. The two-round elections will be held in April and May.

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The euro stood at NZ$1.4644 and a break of NZ$1.4522 would be the lowest in two years.

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe said he would like a lower Australian dollar, but acknowledged it was also hard to say it was overvalued.

Speaking at a semi-annual parliamentary economics committee, the central bank chief also said it was "reasonable" that the market was pricing in steady interest rates for this year.

Across the Tasman sea, the New Zealand dollar edged lower to US$0.7221, but within sight of a two-week peak of US$0.7246 touched the previous day.

The currency was on track for a weekly gain of 0.65 per cent after two weeks of losses, with New Zealand's strong economy and relatively high yields underpinning the currency.

"Our fair value model estimate still sits around the 0.74 mark, so there is scope for further upside without becoming stretched if the USD sees further selling pressure," said BNZ currency strategist Jason Wong.

Against its Kiwi cousin, the Australian dollar held at NZ$1.0666, on track for a monthly gain of 2.8 per cent. If sustained, it would be the biggest in more than a year.

New Zealand government bonds gained, sending yields 4.5 basis points lower at the long end of the curve.

Australian government bond futures rallied, with the three-year bond contract up four ticks at 98.010. The 10-year contract gained 5.5 ticks to 97.2400 while the 20-year contract added 5.5 ticks to 96.3600.

REUTERS

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