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SYDNEY/WELLINGTON: The Australian dollar drifted lower against the greenback on Monday, as a spike in coronavirus cases involving the highly infectious Delta variant triggered lockdowns and tighter restrictions that hurt investor sentiment. The Australian dollar, a liquid proxy for risk, was 0.02% lower at $0.7586, after hitting a near six-month trough of $0.7478 earlier this month. It has support at about $0.7566.

The Aussie is far from its 2021 high of $0.8007 reached in February, which at the time was buoyed by market optimism about a speedier than expected recovery and high commodity prices.

The kiwi dollar was trading flat at $0.7069, as investors took some comfort that the country’s capital, Wellington, has so far escaped contagion from the outbreak in Australia beyond one case.

New Zealand bonds fell across the curve on Monday, pushing yields in the short- and medium-term part of the curve 3-to-4 basis points higher. Australian government bond yields were mixed, with the 3-year bond yield falling two basis points to 0.44%, the 2-year yield remaining unchanged at 0.83%, and the 10-year bond yield moving three basis points higher to 1.55%.

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