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NZ, Australian dollars rise on Chinese data, easing Syria tensions

Wednesday 11th September 2013

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The New Zealand and Australian dollars advanced as investors took heart from improving Chinese data and easing tensions over Syria.

The kiwi touched a three-week high of 80.75 US cents early this morning, and traded at 80.64 cents at 8am in Wellington, from 80.44 cents at the 5pm market close yesterday. The Australian dollar rose to an 11-week high of 93.19 US cents this morning.

Stronger-than-expected industrial output and retail sales data in China bolstered optimism about growth prospects for the world's second-largest economy, while apparent Syrian acceptance of a proposal to give up chemical weapons eased concerns about US-led military action. The improving risk appetite favoured growth sensitive currencies such as the New Zealand and the Australian dollars.

"Risk appetite has brightened overnight, thanks to yesterday's encouraging Chinese data and the fading likelihood of military intervention in Syria," Mike Jones, currency strategist at Bank of New Zealand, said in a note. "The New Zealand dollar and Australian dollar have revelled in this more optimistic backdrop, while the 'safe-haven' Swiss franc, Japanese yen and US dollar have all underperformed."

There is no New Zealand data scheduled for release today ahead of the central bank's interest rate decision tomorrow.

Finance Minister Bill English is due to speak at the Project Management Institute Conference at 10:15am.

The New Zealand dollar slipped to 86.66 Australian cents at 8am in Wellington from 86.83 cents at 5pm yesterday.

The kiwi may slip further against the Aussie after recent Australian economic data beat expectations and as the country is more exposed to a recovery in the Chinese economy, Con Williams, an economist at ANZ New Zealand, said in a note.

A report on Australian consumer confidence for September is scheduled for release at 12:30 local time.

The kiwi advanced to 80.92 yen at 8am in Wellington from 80.13 yen at 5pm yesterday. The local currency gained to 60.79 euro cents from 60.63 cents yesterday and edged up to 51.26 British pence from 51.22 pence. The trade-weighted index rose to 75.91 from 75.72 yesterday.

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