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Markets

Australia, NZ dollars set to extend winning streak to 7th week

  • The Aussie stood at $0.7616 having climbed 1.1% for the week to touch $0.7639. That was the highest since June 2018 when it topped at $0.7677, the next major chart target.
18 Dec 2020

SYDNEY: The Australian and New Zealand dollars were heading for their seventh straight week of gains on Friday, given added impetus by surging commodity prices globally and higher bond yields at home.

The Aussie stood at $0.7616 having climbed 1.1% for the week to touch $0.7639. That was the highest since June 2018 when it topped at $0.7677, the next major chart target.

The kiwi rested at $0.7138, after reaching $0.7170 to be up 0.9% on the week. A breach of resistance at $0.7150 opened the door to $0.7395, a peak from April 2018.

Both currencies have been buoyed by the outperformance of their domestic economies, where the coronavirus has been mostly contained, and the broad strength of global commodity prices.

Iron ore, in particular, has been on a stellar run amid robust Chinese demand and concerns about supply, and the ore is Australia's single largest export earner. "When we look at it through the lens of commodity prices and Australia's Terms of Trade it is not difficult to conclude that significantly higher levels are readily justified," said analysts at NAB in a note.

At the same time, Australian bond yields had risen faster than those in the United States such that the spread between five-year yields had swung to zero now, from as much as -18 basis points in November.

The five-year yield was last at 0.38%, having touched a three-month high of 0.42% overnight.

As a result, NAB now saw the Aussie reaching $0.8000 by mid 2021, instead of early 2022, and to top out at $0.8300.

New Zealand yields have also been on the rise as the economy recovers swiftly from its COVID lockdown, with GDP rebounding 14% in the third quarter.

A survey out Friday showed business sentiment jumped to multi-year highs in December, turning positive for the first time since August 2017.

"The economy is showing impressive resilience," said Sharon Zollner, chief NZ economist at ANZ, noting output was back where it was before the pandemic struck.

The survey also found a pick up in price pressures, particularly in the red-hot construction and housing sectors, in part due to international supply disruptions.

"It's the kind of inflation central banks 'look through' as far as possible, but it's inflation nonetheless, and if it impacts inflation expectations and pricing intentions persistently, the Reserve Bank will have to take note," said Zollner.