Australia dollar proves resilient to US dollar strength, NZD not so lucky

By: | Published: August 5, 2015 8:36 AM

The Australian dollar held solid gains on Wednesday, proving resilient to broad U.S. dollar strength and mounting talk of a September interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

The Australian dollar held solid gains on Wednesday, proving resilient to broad U.S. dollar strength and mounting talk of a September interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

In contrast, another dire dairy auction and a softer-than-expected employment report sent New Zealand dollar closer to six-year lows.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7362, having surged 1.3 percent on Tuesday after the Reserve Bank of Australia toned down its call for a weaker currency. A short squeeze saw the Aussie climb as high as $0.7428. Immediate resistance was found around $0.7380.

The central bank kept rates at a record low of 2 percent at its monthly policy meeting this week, but dropped a reference to further falls in the Aussie as being both likely and necessary.

For some analysts, the correction higher is only temporary.

“A slight tweak to the RBA’s characterisation of the AUD resulted in one of the biggest post-RBA moves on record,” said ANZ in a note. “This was clearly an over-reaction driven by positioning.”

Such was the momentum that the Aussie even resisted a broad rally in the U.S. dollar after a Fed regional president surprised some by expressing his support for an interest rate hike in September.

Also helping the Aussie was an upbeat survey of China’s service sector, an outcome that should help offset downward pressure from cooling manufacturing.

The New Zealand dollar eased to $0.6519, from a peak of $0.6615 on Tuesday on sliding dairy prices and soft wages growth at home.

Government data showed a rise in the jobless rate and very tame wage pressures, all of which pointed to a further rate cut next month.

The overnight dairy auction was as bad as feared, with average prices sliding 9.3 percent. Dairy giant Fonterra looks set on Friday to slash its payout forecast to around NZ$4.00 a kilo of milk solids from an initial NZ$5.25/kg. Several analysts are picking around NZ$3.70.

Near-term support for the kiwi is at the year-to-date low of $0.6499, with $0.6620 capping the topside.

The kiwi’s weakness was evident across the board with the trade-weighted currency basket index falling 0.5 percent to a two-week low.

New Zealand government bond yields were as much as 3 basis points higher.

Australian government bond futures fell, with the three-year bond contract off 8 ticks at 98.000. The 10-year contract lost 8.5 ticks to 97.1450.

The spread between three- and 10-year  bonds narrowed to 81 basis points, the smallest since early June.

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