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Australian, New Zealand dollars stuck in a news lull, eye resistance

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The Australian and New Zealand dollars were becalmed on Thursday as a lack of progress on either Brexit or the Sino-US trade dispute sucked all the momentum out of the market.

[SYDNEY] The Australian and New Zealand dollars were becalmed on Thursday as a lack of progress on either Brexit or the Sino-US trade dispute sucked all the momentum out of the market.

The Aussie was idling at US$0.6854, having shied away from tough resistance at the September top of US$0.6895. Support comes in at US$0.6834 and US$0.6810.

The kiwi dollar was steady at US$0.6418, having again failed to clear its September high of US$0.6450. Near-term support lies at US$0.6386.

A dearth of domestic data added to the somnolent tone with the next major Australian release being third-quarter consumer prices on Oct 30.

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Market voices on:

Justin Smirk, a senior economist at Westpac, expects a pick up in headline consumer price inflation to an annual 1.8 per cent pace but for the key core measure to slow a tick to 1.3 per cent.

That would mean core inflation had been running below the floor of the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) 2-3 per cent target band for almost four years, a major reason markets are betting on at least one more rate cut.

"Competitive disinflationary pressure in consumer goods is limiting the pass through of the weaker Aussie, though it is having some impact," said Smirk.

"Given this we find it hard to envisage core inflation breaking higher any time soon, let alone returning to the mid-point of the 2 per cent to 3 per cent target band."

Futures are pricing in a slim 16 per cent chance of a quarter-point cut at the RBA's next meeting on Nov 5, rising to around 50 per cent in December and 82 per cent for February next year.

That outlook is helping keep bond yields not far from record lows. Three-year bond yields stand at 0.74 per cent compared to 1.83 per cent at the start of this year.

The three-year bond future added 1.5 ticks on Thursday to stand at 99.275, while the 10-year contract gained 1 tick to 98.9050.

There was a rare event in the government's regular debt auctions when a sale of Treasury Notes drew bids for less than the amount offered, a miss that last happened back in 2002.

The auction of A$1 billion of short-term notes attracted bids worth just A$936 million, resulting in a bid-to-cover ratio of 0.9263.

A ratio under 1 is exceptionally rare for Australian government debt, which carries the top triple-A credit rating and usually draws more than enough demand.

REUTERS