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Australia, NZ dollars steady, on track for strong month
[SYDNEY] The Australian and New Zealand dollars were little changed on Monday after two straight session of gains, but looked set for their best monthly performance since early 2016.
The Australian dollar rose 0.1 per cent to US$0.7561, having been trapped in a tight 75-76 US cent band over the last 10 sessions.
The New Zealand dollar held at US$0.7286, not far from a 2-1/2 month peak of US$0.7314 touched last week.
Both the Aussie and the Kiwi are up about 5 per cent in January, making them among the best performing major currencies in the world.
The gains have come on the back of a sagging greenback, with investors growing increasingly leery about US President Donald Trump's economic and social agenda.
The latest blow to the US dollar came after Mr Trump ordered a temporary ban on the entry of refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Meanwhile, the Aussie got a slight boost from a survey showing Australian business conditions recovered strongly in December, while confidence remained steady.
Business credit also jumped a handsome 5.6 per cent on-year in December, pointing to a pick-up in economic activity.
Investors will keep a close watch on the Bank of Japan's (BOJ) two-day rate review that ends on Tuesday. The BOJ is set to maintain its massive monetary stimulus and try to reassure markets that any reversal of its ultra-loose policies is sometime off.
In New Zealand, investors await labour data due on Wednesday which was expected to show another quarter of strong jobs growth with unemployment near an eight-year low.
New Zealand government bonds eased, sending yields one basis point higher at the long end of the curve.
Australian government bond futures were mixed, with the three-year bond contract flat at 98.03. The 10-year contract eased 1.5 ticks to 97.23.