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Updated December 29th, 2023 at 17:14 IST

Australia, NZ dollars pause for breath after stirring month

Both currencies still hold hefty gains for the month.

Business Desk
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The Australian and New Zealand dollars faded from five-month highs on Friday as their recent winning streak ran into tough resistance.
Both currencies still hold hefty gains for the month.

The Australian dollar had dipped to $0.6828, from a top of $0.6871. It was up 3.4 per cent for the month, and 7.5 per cent higher since the start of November. The rally has left the currency a shade firmer for the year, and saved it from a low of $0.6271.

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The New Zealand dollar eased to $0.6332, having stalled at resistance around $0.6395. That left it 2.9 per cent higher for December, and almost unchanged on this time last year.

The pullback was no surprise given both currencies had been climbing for the past two weeks and faced major chart barriers at $0.6900 and $0.6400.

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Bonds also ran into some profit-taking after a stellar run in the past two months. Three-year bond futures dipped 3 ticks to 96.440, but are still up 46 ticks for December and a world away from the lows of 95.48 hit in November.

Yields on 10-year bonds have tumbled to 3.962 per cent from their November top of 4.999 per cent, as markets wager on a slate of US-led rate cuts next year.

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While the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) actively considered hiking rates earlier this month, futures now imply almost no chance it will have to tighten and instead have a quarter-point cut fully priced for June.

Of the four major local banks, ANZ, CBA and Westpac think the RBA is done tightening, with only NAB clinging to a call for one more hike in February.

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Likewise, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has sounded decidedly hawkish recently but markets are fully priced for a cut in May, a full year earlier than the central bank's own projection.

The next major data releases for the Aussie are November consumer prices on January 15 and the full inflation report for the fourth quarter on January 31.

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Most analysts assume it would take surprisingly high readings for both to get the RBA to hike in February.
New Zealand's fourth-quarter inflation report is due on January 24 and recent indicators suggest risks are on the downside for that reading.

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Published December 29th, 2023 at 08:27 IST

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