The Australian dollar inched higher on Thursday after domestic data showed an encouraging jump in full-time jobs, while its New Zealand neighbour slipped on revived speculation of an interest rate cut.
The Australian dollar was up at $0.7616, from $0.7590 late Wednesday, but again failed to clear resistance in the $0.7640/50 zone.
Sentiment was aided by data showing a hefty 34,800 full-time jobs were created in June, outweighing a modest 7,900 increase in total employment.
Yet the data were not so strong as lessen the chance of another cut in interest rates from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which analysts assume will depend on second-quarter inflation data due later this month.
“The decision around rates in August will come down to the Bank’s assessment of inflation,” said Gareth Aird, a senior economist at Commonwealth Bank.
“We expect a soft CPI report in two weeks which is likely to result in the RBA responding with further policy easing.”
The New Zealand dollar fell half a U.S. cent to $0.7217 after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand surprised by announcing it would give a brief update on its economic outlook on July 21, well before the next policy review on Aug. 11.
The update will come just a few days after New Zealand’s latest inflation figures are released, which again are expected to be weak.
Investors reacted to the added uncertainty by narrowing the odds on a rate cut in August, taking bank bill futures sharply higher <0#NBB:>.
The RBNZ news overshadowed a survey showing consumer confidence had eased off only slightly in July and was still at high levels historically.
New Zealand government bonds gained, sending yields 2.5 basis points lower.
Australian government bond futures also edged higher in line with a bounce in global bond markets. The three-year bond contract added 2 ticks to 98.500, while the 10-year contract rose 5.5 ticks to 98.0650.