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Australian dollar at 1-week high, NZ dollar stuck in range

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 11:31

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The Australian dollar hit a one-week high on Thursday after two straight winning sessions, in part led by foreign funds flowing into the equity market and a bounce in commodity prices.

[SYDNEY] The Australian dollar hit a one-week high on Thursday after two straight winning sessions, in part led by foreign funds flowing into the equity market and a bounce in commodity prices.

The Australian dollar held at US$0.7668, after rising to US$0.7676 - the highest since March 23. Technical analysts see chart resistance around the current levels while strong support lies at 76 US cents.

"The Aussie still looks pretty positive, it's been on an uptrend in the last 48 hours. There's been some equity flows that's supporting it," said Rodrigo Catrill, currency strategist at National Australia Bank. "Commodity has been crucial and we'll watch for what oil does and even iron ore later in the session." The Australian share market surged to a near two-year high on Thursday, rising for a third straight session.

Prices of iron ore and oil have jumped more than 3 per cent over the last two days led by renewed optimism about the health of the global economy.

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Elsewhere, the Aussie was on a one-week peak against the yen, bouncing back after testing a major chart support. It was also at its highest in more than a week on both the euro and the pound.

The New Zealand dollar stood at US$0.7024 on Thursday, staying trapped in a tight band of US$0.6994 to US$0.7068.

"Amid a week of fairly whippy price action, NZD has in reality traded fairly tight ranges, with around 0.75 cents covering the high-low spread," said ANZ senior rates strategist David Croy in a research note. "Gains seen overnight really just offset yesterday's weakness," he added.

The next releases on investors' calendars were the ANZ business confidence survey due out Friday and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research's quarterly survey of business opinion due Tuesday, which would give signals on how firms saw inflation.

These surveys would give some hints to whether inflation was rising as fast as hoped by the central bank, which set rates at record lows in hopes of boosting the consumer price index. The CPI data are due out on April 19.

New Zealand government bonds gained, sending yields 3.5 basis points lower at the long end of the curve.

Australian government bond futures edged higher, with the three-year bond contract up 1 tick at 98.050. The 10-year contract added 2.5 ticks to 97.265. REUTERS

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