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SYDNEY/WELLINGTON: The Australian dollar hobbled near one-week lows on Wednesday on worries top trading partner China was imposing new restrictions on coal imports while the New Zealand dollar was a shade higher.

The Aussie was last at $0.7162 after two days of losses took it to as low as $0.7151 on Tuesday, a level not seen since early October.

The losses accelerated on news reports on Tuesday that state-owned utilities and steel mills in China have received verbal notice from customs to stop importing Australian thermal and coking coal with immediate effect.

In New Zealand, the dollar was 0.2% higher at $0.6662 after hitting a two-week trough of $0.6547 last week on growing bets interest rates in the country would fall into negative territory early next week.

On Wednesday, Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby cemented views negative rates were being actively considered.

New Zealand government bonds rose, with yields down about 1-3 basis along the long-end of the curve.

Australian government bond futures were little changed, with the three-year bond contract flat at 99.82. The 10-year contract was up half a tick at 99.155.

Coal is Australia’s No.2 export earner after iron ore with China the biggest buyer.—Reuters