SYDNEY: The Australian and New Zealand dollars extended last week’s losses on Monday as the strength of the US economic recovery and the relative success of its vaccination programme lured traders to the greenback.
The Australian dollar dropped 0.27% to $0.7621 after authorities on Monday announced a snap three-day COVID-19 lockdown in Brisbane, the country’s third-largest city, to stamp out the virulent UK variant of the virus.
It had since recovered to be unchanged by midday. For the rest of the week, “again, any large major movements in the Aussie are likely to be driven by the global mood,” Westpac strategists said.
The commodity-sensitive Aussie is on track to be down 0.91% for the month, having lost 1.32% last week, its second consecutive week of losses amid volatility in bonds, oil and commodity prices.
The kiwi dollar was slightly lower at $0.6991, having shed 2.35% last week in its worst performance in six months as the country announced tough new rules to cool its housing market.
New Zealand 10-year bond yields were 4.5 basis points higher at 1.708%. Yields on two-year bonds were two basis points higher at 0.28%, but still a long way from the 0.50% top hit briefly in February.
Yields on Australian 10-year bonds were three basis points higher at 1.70%, standing at a four basis point spread over US Treasuries, down from as much as 39 basis points a month ago.
The housing curbs triggered a huge rally in debt markets as investors sharply scaled back wagers on a rate hike next year.