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SYDNEY: The Australian and New Zealand dollars were on the defensive on Thursday after a bout of global risk aversion knocked equity markets, while a local central banker flagged the possibility of an eventual pause in rate hikes.

The Aussie dollar steadied at $0.6418, having fallen 1.2% overnight and away from the week’s top of $0.6551. Support lies around $0.6400 with resistance at $0.6450.

The New Zealand dollar held at $0.5875, after retreating almost 1.3% overnight and away from a seven-week top of $0.6599. Immediate support lay at $0.5866.

The flurry of risk aversion was partly attributed to turmoil in crypto currency markets as the FTX exchange ran into liquidity troubles.

At home, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Deputy Governor Michele Bullock reiterated that interest rates would likely rise further, but added they were nearer the point where they could “sit and wait” for a while.

On Wednesday, Bullock had said the RBA did not want to run a “scorched earth” policy on rates but rather was aiming to curb inflation over time.

That was enough to nudge bill futures up a little as the market priced in slightly more chance the RBA could stand pat at its next meeting in December.

Australia, NZ dollars stall ahead of US inflation test

The implied peak for rates has also edged down to around 3.83%, from above 4.0% just a couple of weeks ago. “We have one further 25bp cash rate lift in our forecasts in December, taking the cash rate to a peak of 3.10%,” said Kristina Clifton, a senior economist at CBA.

“But there is a decent risk that a little further tightening is delivered thereafter.”

She noted that RBA forecasts for inflation next year had assumed a huge rise of around 50% in electricity prices, but CBA expected the government to limit that increase through caps on prices or rebates to consumers.

“This should limit the contribution to CPI inflation,” said Clifton.

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