Australia, N.Z. Dollars Fall From Month Highs on Rates Concern

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The Australian and New Zealand dollars fell, retreating from one-month highs touched late last week, amid concerns the nations’ deteriorating economies may spur their central banks to lower interest rates to records.

New Zealand’s manufacturing sales excluding inflation fell 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter, the statistics department said. The Reserve Bank of Australia tomorrow releases minutes of the March 3 board meeting, where policy makers halted reductions in borrowing costs. Since that meeting, government reports showed gross domestic product shrank for the first time in eight years and the unemployment rate climbed to a four-year high.

“The RBA’s minutes moved markets on quite a few occasions so traders are a bit uneasy ahead of that, especially as the meeting was prior to the weak GDP and jobs data,” said Sean Callow, a senior currency strategist in Sydney at Westpac Banking Corp., Australia’s biggest lender by market value. “New Zealand’s manufacturing sales today also puts downside risks to GDP forecasts for” the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Australia’s currency fell 0.3 percent to 65.62 U.S. cents as of 4:21 p.m. in Sydney from 65.82 cents in New York late last week, when it touched 66.04 cents, the strongest since Feb. 13. The currency was unchanged at 64.47 yen.

From Bloomberg News.