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Australia, NZ dollars steady but markets jittery over Brexit, Fed

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The Australian and New Zealand dollars held steady on Monday as investors avoided taking major positions amid Brexit fears and ahead of key central bank meetings this week.

[WELLINGTON] The Australian and New Zealand dollars held steady on Monday as investors avoided taking major positions amid Brexit fears and ahead of key central bank meetings this week.

The US dollar was under pressure after risk-averse investors piled into the safe-haven yen as growing concerns about the June 23 referendum on Britain's membership in the European Union, and a mass shooting in the Orlando, Florida on Sunday dimmed the mood.

"The Brexit vote is going down to the wire. Expect markets to remain on edge," said ANZ Bank's New Zealand chief economist Cameron Bagrie.

The US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan also hold their respective policy meetings later this week, with particular attention on the Fed's policy after a weak jobs report doused expectations of an imminent rate hike.

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The Australian dollar was trading at US$0.7380, up 0.15 per cent while the New Zealand dollar was fetching US$0.7043, down 0.21 per cent.

Trading in the Aussie was light due to an Australian public holiday.

Both the Australian and New Zealand dollars benefited last week when their respective central banks surprised markets.

The Reserve Bank of Australia held the rate at 1.75 per cent and omitted a clear easing bias in its monthly policy review statement, while New Zealand's central bank held the rate at 2.25 per cent and appeared less dovish than expected.

A raft of Chinese data, including industrial production, retail sales, and fixed assets for May released earlier in the day, had little impact as it was "a mixed bag" and trading is light with the Australian holiday, said ANZ FX manager Murray Hindley.

Growth in China's fixed-asset investment and retail sales cooled unexpectedly in May, but factory output growth was steady, doing little to clear up uncertainty over prospects for the world's second-largest economy.

New Zealand government bonds gained, pushing yields as much as 8.5 basis points lower at the long end.

REUTERS

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