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Australia, New Zealand dollars run out of puff, ponder rate outlooks – Times of India

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SYDNEY: The Australian and New Zealand dollars faltered on Tuesday as momentum from last week’s rally seeped away and markets pondered the outlook for steady interest rates at home.
The Aussie drifted off 0.2% to $0.6654, having repeatedly failed to re-take its recent four-month top of $0.6714. Support lies under $0.6650 and around $0.6630.
Sentiment was aided by strength in prices for Australia‘s major commodities, notably copper where a squeeze on short positions drove prices to all-time highs.
The kiwi dollar eased to $0.6091, and away from last week’s one-month peak of $0.6139. It has support round $0.6083 and $0.6031.
Australia’s central bank on Tuesday released minutes of its last policy meeting where it considered hiking rates again, but decided to hold steady awaiting further data on inflation and consumer spending.
“It seems holding for longer is the preferred strategy given soft activity, especially on the consumer side, unless inflation were to surprise sharply on the upside,” said Tapas Strickland, head of market economics at NAB.
“We continue to expect a first cut in November given our forecasts for the economy are for subdued demand to see the labour market loosen a little more than the RBA expects in the near term.”
Investors have already priced out any chance of another hike, but neither do they see much prospect of an early cut with a December move implied at 50-50.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) holds its policy meeting on Wednesday and considered certain to hold the official cash rate (OCR) at 5.5%. A Reuters poll of 30 analysts found all expected a steady outcome while the median forecast was for a first easing in the December quarter.
Markets imply a 46% chance of a cut as early as August, with an October easing put at 84%. Those odds narrowed last week when data showed inflation expectations subsiding.
The RBNZ itself has projected no rate cuts until well into next year, and there is a risk it sticks with that outlook in its updated forecasts.
“The RBNZ can maintain pressure on inflation, by simply doing nothing, effectively holding the OCR track unchanged,” said Jarrod Kerr, chief economist at Kiwibank.
“But we see inflation returning to within the RBNZ’s 1-3% target by the September quarter, and continue to expect the next move to be a cut in November once the data confirm it.”

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