Aussie & kiwi dlrs off highs; RBA ready to ease if needed
18 September, 2012 - Reuters
WELLINGTON/SYDNEY, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars were off six month highs on Tuesday, on a wave of profit-taking following sharp gains, while the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left the door ajar for a rate cut if the economy took a turn for the worse. The Aussie firm at $1.0482, from $1.0471 in early trade but well off Friday's $1.0625, its strongest since early March. Minutes of the RBA's September policy meeting showed concerns about falling prices for some of Australia's major commodities and a slight downgrade to the outlook for China and the global economy. While the domestic economy seemed to be growing around trend, the bank saw scope for an easing in response to any "significant deterioration" in the outlook. The high Australian dollar is also at odds with recent weakness in key commodities, adding to pressure to struggling sectors such as manufacturing and argues for another easing. Interbank futures have priced in around 50-50 probability of a cut next month and the market sees the cash rate falling as low as 2.75 percent in 12 months. Traders see a period of consolidation likely for the Aussie, before gathering steam again. Support seen around $1.0420 and resistance at $1.0500. The Aussie enjoyed a stellar rally late last week, climbing four cents in just seven sessions. The New Zealand dollar marks time at $0.8271, from $0.8258 in early trade, but off Friday's six-month peak of $0.8354. The kiwi is seen supported around $0.8225, the high on Aug 6. Resistance was seen initially at the overnight high just above $0.8300 and then $0.8325-0.8335, levels hit in April and August. Strongly performing euro leaves the Antipodean currencies trailing in its wake. It rises to a three-month peak against the Aussie at A$1.2545 , leaving the way open for a retest of the 2012 high of A$1.3037. Last at A$1.2499. Against the kiwi it climbs to NZ$1.5872 , within reach of the late June high just above NZ$1.5900. NZ data -- Q2 current account and GDP -- on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, pose some risk to kiwi. Reuters poll sees current account deficit widening to 5.2 percent of GDP from 4.8 percent. Economic growth seen slowing to 0.3 percent, from the first quarter's exceptional 1.1 percent. New Zealand government bonds tick up, prodding yields 3 basis points lower along the curve. Australian debt futures bounce from three-week lows, with the three-year contract up 0.07 points to 97.350, while the 10-year contract 0.050 points higher at 96.720.
(Australia and New Zealand bureaux)
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