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Australia, NZ dollar bulls pin hopes on Britain staying in EU

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The Australian and New Zealand dollars stayed firm on Thursday, with the kiwi a whisker short of a one-year peak, on optimism that Britain will stay in the European Union.

[SYDNEY] The Australian and New Zealand dollars stayed firm on Thursday, with the kiwi a whisker short of a one-year peak, on optimism that Britain will stay in the European Union.

Just hours before UK voters begin to cast their votes in a historic EU membership referendum, two opinion polls showed the "Remain" camp ahead of the "Leave" camp.

The Australian dollar was last trading 0.2 per cent higher at US$0.7517, having earlier re-tested a near two-month peak of US$0.7527 first set overnight.

The New Zealand dollar was also 0.2 per cent firmer at US$0.7167, not far off a one-year peak of US$0.7189.

"The atmosphere is akin to the moments before a western shootout. We know trouble is brewing yet there is a relative calmness before trouble erupts," said Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at ThinkForex.

"The polls will no doubt dictate the direction, trajectory and volatility of most asset classes tomorrow." New Zealand government bonds eased slightly, sending yields up half a basis point at the short end and three basis points at the long end.

Australian government bond futures were also softer, with the three-year bond contract down 3 ticks at 98.340. The 10-year contract slipped 3 ticks to 97.7350.

REUTERS