Australia, NZ dlrs wallow near recent lows on trade tensions
By Swati Pandey and Charlotte Greenfield
SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, April 3 (Reuters) – The Australian dollar hovered near four-month lows while its New Zealand cousin struggled to recover from an almost two-week trough on nervousness around the outlook for global growth amid escalating U.S.-China trade tensions.
The Australian dollar AUD=D4 was a tad firmer at $0.76895 to be within spitting distance of last week’s $0.76430, a level not seen since mid-December.
The New Zealand dollar crept 0.1 percent higher to $0.7224, not far from Thursday’s low of $0.7189.
Investors were generally on the backfoot as China imposed extra tariffs on 128 U.S. products, deepening a dispute between the world’s two biggest economies and stoking concerns about the impact on global growth. home, Australia had a string of secondary data which showed the economy was expanding at a reasonable pace, with strong hiring and signs of a pick-up in price pressures. Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) also sounded optimistic about faster economic growth in 2018 at its monthly policy meeting on Tuesday in which it held rates at 1.50 percent in a widely expected move. L4N1RG1IQ
The RBA has left rates at record lows since August 2016, the longest stretch without a change since early 1990s, and is likely to extend the spell for some time yet as it awaits a pick-up in inflation.
“We believe that Australia’s economic recovery still has a long way to run,” said Callam Pickering, APAC economist for global job site Indeed.
“The relatively soft outlook for inflation and the unemployment rate from the RBA suggests that, at least for now, they tend to agree.”
Core inflation has remained below the central bank’s target band of 2-3 percent for more than two years now while unemployment has stayed around 5.5 percent despite booming job creation over the past year.
In New Zealand, investors will focus on a closely watched auction for dairy prices scheduled for the early hours of Wednesday.
“Volatility looks set to be on the cards, though $0.7200 should continue to serve as an anchor point for the Kiwi,” said Kiwibank economists in a research note.
New Zealand government bonds 0#NZTSY= gained, sending yields 0.5 basis point lower at the long end of the curve.
Australian government bond futures were mixed, with the three-year bond contract YTTc1 off 1.5 ticks at 97.850. The 10-year contract YTCc1 rose 1.5 ticks to 97.40. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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