Australia dollar stung by soft data, New Zealand dollar steadies at end of bad week

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Published: July 3, 2015 8:49:20 AM

The Australian dollar fell to its lowest in nearly three months on Friday as disappointing retail sales data weighed on a market already on the defensive ahead of the Greek referendum this weekend.

The Australian dollar fell to its lowest in nearly three months on Friday as disappointing retail sales data weighed on a market already on the defensive ahead of the Greek referendum this weekend.

A holiday in the United States on Friday meant that investors were more inclined to err on the side of caution as trading volumes dwindle.

The Aussie slid as far as $0.7579, reaching a low not seen since mid-April. It last stood at $0.7585, down nearly 1 percent on the week. Key support is still at $0.7534, a six-year trough reached in early April.

Australia’s retail sales rose 0.3 percent in May, short of the 0.5 percent increase forecast. The previous month was downwardly revised to a fall of 0.1 percent, the first monthly decline in 11 months.

The Aussie also underperformed its peers, particularly against its New Zealand counterpart which pulled away from a near two-year trough. The Aussie fetched NZ$1.1305, down from the peak of NZ$1.1429 earlier in the week.

In contrast, the kiwi was steady at $0.6718 and looking for a quiet end to a tough week after the U.S. dollar was briefly unsettled by U.S. jobs data. {ID:nL1N0ZI0OH]

The kiwi plumbed a five-year low of $0.6664 overnight and is down 1.7 percent for the week as sliding dairy prices and falling business sentiment built the case for more rate cuts.

Analysts are now predicting the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) will undo all of last year’s tightening and take its cash rate back to 2.5 percent by 2016.

The kiwi’s outlook has faded accordingly.

“Momentum is negative and there is little solid support ahead of the mid-2010 lows around $0.6580,” BNZ senior strategist Kimberly Martin said in a note.

She said the kiwi’s best chance for a pick-up was if there were serious doubts about whether the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise rates this year.

Near-term support is the overnight low with $0.6780 capping the topside.

How both Antipodean currencies perform next week hinges on the Greek referendum, which could decide the country’s future in Europe. On Thursday, the International Monetary Fund warned of a huge financial hole facing Athens.

With caution dominating sentiment, government bonds were in favour. New Zealand government bond yields eased 2 basis points across the curve.

Australian government bond futures were slightly firmer with the three-year contract 3 ticks higher at 97.900. The 10-year contract edged up 3 ticks to 96.8750.

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