Australia, NZ dollars mark time ahead of data tests

Australia, NZ dollars mark time ahead of data tests

© Reuters.  Australia, NZ dollars mark time ahead of data tests© Reuters. Australia, NZ dollars mark time ahead of data tests

By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY, April 18 (Reuters) – The Australian and New Zealand dollars were stuck in neutral on Wednesday as investors counted down to important data releases from both countries that just might end days of aimless range trading.

The dollar AUD=D4 was flat at $0.7766 having traded in a 14-tick band all session. Chart resistance was proving stiff between $0.7790 and the 200-day moving average at $0.7815, while support was lined up at $0.7740.

The kiwi dollar was just a fraction softer at $0.7335, but could shift lower on a break of support around $0.7327.

In a bearish turn, the currency failed to draw any comfort from the latest global dairy auction despite an unexpected bounce in prices.

The Global Dairy Trade Price Index bounced 2.7 percent, to break a run of four consecutive falls. Dairy is the country’s single biggest goods export. said the disappointing reaction owed much to the proximity of quarterly inflation data Thursday, where the market was already braced for a soft result.

Median forecasts are that the consumer price index (CPI) rose by a modest 0.5 percent in the quarter, dragging the annual rate down to just 1.1 percent from 1.6 percent.

That would be only just within the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s (RBNZ) target range of 1 percent to 3 percent.

“Our target remains $0.7440 – the top of the multi-month range – but any large downside surprise from the CPI data would probably derail that view, since it would raise the possibility of rate cuts,” said Westpac analyst Imre Speizer.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has been projecting steady rates ahead but also noted it might cut further should inflation slow too far.

For the Aussie, dealers are awaiting monthly jobs figures on Thursday which are forecast to show a solid increase of 21,000 in March and a dip in the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent.

A stronger number could finally help crack the $0.7815 barrier and open the way to a major chart target at $0.7885.

New Zealand government bonds 0#NZTSY= were a shade firmer, with yields down as much as 2 basis points at the long end.

Australian government bond futures also edged up, with the three-year bond contract YTTc1 adding 1.5 ticks to 97.750. The 10-year contract YTCc1 rose 2.5 ticks to 97.2500. (Editing by Sam Holmes)

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