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Australian, New Zealand dollars advance on depressed pound, off 1-month peak on USD

Monday, January 16, 2017 - 10:40

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The Australian and New Zealand dollars reached two-month highs against a depressed pound on Monday on fears of a "hard Brexit", and held near recent peaks versus their US counterpart.

[SYDNEY] The Australian and New Zealand dollars reached two-month highs against a depressed pound on Monday on fears of a "hard Brexit", and held near recent peaks versus their US counterpart.

Sterling skidded 1 percent to A$1.6061, having briefly touched a two-month trough below A$1.6000. It plunged 3.5 per cent last week, the biggest fall since June last year.

A break of A$1.5950 could see a retracement all the way to the 2016 trough of A$1.5582.

The pound was hammered on reports UK Prime Minister Theresa May will use a speech on Tuesday to signal plans for a"hard Brexit", fuelling worries about British exports.

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Sterling also dropped 1 per cent against the New Zealand dollar to NZ$1.69277, having gone as far as NZ$1.6796, the Nov 9 low.

With so much attention on the pound, the Antipodean currencies took a back seat to their US counterpart, following recent hefty gains.

The Australian dollar edged down to US$0.7481, from US$$0.7504 late on Friday and away from a one-month peak of US$0.7519. It leapt 2.7 per cent last week, the strongest performance since March last year, following a shakeout in bullish US dollar positions.

Also helping the Aussie was strength in iron ore prices, with futures traded in China jumping 8 per cent to their highest in three years. That was the sixth consecutive session of gains.

"The Aussie is the current darling in the G-10 space and attracting much attention," said Stephen Innes, senior currency trader at CFD and FX provider OANDA Australia and Asia Pacific. "The best way to express a strong Aussie commodity bias is through crosses on the leading currencies such as EUR, GBP, and JPY which will continue to assert itself in early 2017."

Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand dollar slipped to US$0.7110, from US$0.7130 late on Friday, away from a one-month peak of US$0.7149 touched last week.

Most local data was being put to one side as offshore events decided the kiwi's fate, according to analysts.

"We expect a moderately volatile week, though with risks mounting for a move lower," said Zoe Wallis, Kiwi Bank chief economist.

New Zealand government bonds eased, sending yields 1 basis point higher.

Australian government bond futures dipped, with the three-year bond contract off 2 ticks at 97.990. The 10-year contract shed 1.5 ticks to 97.2600, while the 20-year contract lost 1 tick to 96.6350.

REUTERS

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