The Australian dollar got a lift on Tuesday from upbeat economic data that argued against the need for further cuts in interest rates, while its New Zealand counterpart struggled to overcome expectations of a policy easing later this month.
The Aussie hopped up to $0.7431, from a low of $0.7388, after a survey of businesses found sentiment undimmed by concerns over Chinese stocks or the Greek debt crisis.
National Australia Bank’s monthly survey of more than 400 firms showed its index of business confidence hit its highest since September 2013, while business conditions jumped to an eight-month peak.
That would be welcomed by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) which has bemoaned a lack of business spending to help offset a waning mining boom.
“The RBA closely monitors animal spirits, and this report confirms that sentiment is on the mend,” said Annette Beacher, chief Asia-Pac macro strategist at TD Securities.
“Along with a trend improvement in the labour market and a healthy house price and credit growth, there is next to no chance the RBA cuts next month, keeping a floor under the AUD at $0.74 for now.”
The same could not be said of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which is widely expected to cut rates a quarter point to 3 percent at its July 23 policy review.
That outlook kept the New Zealand dollar on the defensive around $0.6685 and not far from recent five-year lows of $0.6620.
Adding to the pressure, a tentative third bailout package for Greece saw the U.S dollar benefit from a renewed focus on the chances of a rate hike from the Federal Reserve.
“We remain bearish on the New Zealand dollar and target $0.6560 this week,” said Westpac senior strategist Imre Speizer in a note. “The main obstacle to near term downside is the record level of speculative shorts in NZD/USD futures markets.”
Key local tests for the currency this week are inflation data and the results of a regular dairy auction, both due on Thursday.
The prospective deal on Greece also lessened safe-haven demand for government debt and nudged Australian three-year bond futures down 7 ticks to 97.920. The 10-year bond contract lost 5.5 ticks to 96.9050.
New Zealand bonds likewise traded with an offered tone sending yields as much as 7 basis points higher at the long end of the curve.