SYDNEY, April 21 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand
dollars stepped away from one-month highs on Wednesday with
economic data in both countries reinforcing expectations that
policy will remain accommodative for an extended period.
The Australian dollar was last 0.1% down at
$0.7717, drifting away form a one-month top of $0.7816 reached
The Aussie faces stiff chart resistance around $0.7750 level
with solid support seen around the $0.7720 region.
The New Zealand dollar was flat at $0.7171 after
going as high as $0.7227 on Tuesday, a level not seen since
Data out earlier showed New Zealand's consumer price index
outpaced expectations but economists said the rise was not
enough for the country's central bank to consider raising
interest rates anytime soon.
In Australia, retail sales figures for March surpassed
expectations too, though there were few signs of inflation in
the data, implying steady policy for a while yet.
"These retail figures do not change the outlook for monetary
policy," said Callam Pickering, economist at global job site
"The downside risks from the retail sector may even slow the
pace of labour market recovery over the remainder of the year."
The antipodean currencies, traded as liquid hedges for risk,
were also hit as Asian shares and U.S. stock futures fell amid
concerns about a resurgence of coronavirus cases in some
countries, casting doubt on the strength of global growth and
Australia is a major exporter of LNG while iron ore, used in
steel making, is its top export.
Crude futures extended declines from a one-month high in
Asian trading on speculation that coronavirus restrictions in
India, the world's third-largest oil importer, will hurt energy
Sliding risk sentiment meant more demand for the safe haven
New Zealand government bonds rose, sending yields
about 6 basis points lower at the long-end of the curve and 2-4
basis points down at the short end.
Australian government bond futures climbed too, with the
three-year bond contract up 1 tick to 99.73. The 10-year
contract added 4 ticks to 98.30.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)