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SYDNEY: The Australian and New Zealand dollars held near multi-week highs on Friday as markets became more confident that Omicron would not derail global economic growth, even as it spread wider.

The Aussie was up at $0.7235, having cleared resistance at $0.7224 to hit a five-week peak of $0.7252 overnight. That left it 1.5% higher for the week and a good way from the recent 13-month trough of $0.6994.

Resistance lies at $0.7275 and $0.7368, with support at $0.7195.

The kiwi dollar stood at $0.6821, after reaching a three-week top of $0.6843. It was 1.3% firmer on the week and away from its recent 13-month low of $0.6702. Resistance lies at $0.6867.

While the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant triggered more restrictions globally, two drugmakers said their vaccines protected against it while studies showed the variant carried a lower risk of hospitalisation.

In Australia, most states had reinstated mask mandates and some social distancing rules, but governments were vowing not to lock down again given the high vaccination rates.

So far, the economy has held up well with spending on bank cards still solidly above pre-pandemic levels and payrolls having recovered all the losses suffered during recent lockdowns.

“With the household savings rate reaching an eye-watering 20% in Q3 and consumer confidence holding up, it is only a matter of time before consumption bounces back in earnest,” said Ben Udy, an economist at Capital Economics.

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