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AUD, NZD sag to multi-week lows on strong greenback

SYDNEY: The Australian and New Zealand dollars stayed near two-month lows yesterday, on track for their second straight weekly loss on broad greenback strength.

Bonds were also under pressure as expectations of a US rate hike next week battered Treasuries.

Yields on Australian 10-year paper jumped to their highest since late 2015 at 2.98 per cent, up 24 basis points in just two weeks.

The Australian dollar held at US$0.7519, up 0.24 per cent, after touching a trough of US$0.7491 overnight.

It was on track to fall 1 per cent for the week.

After gaining in the first two months of 2017, the Aussie dollar has fallen 1.8 per cent in March, largely due to a resurgent US dollar.

The New Zealand dollar, which fell the past seven sessions, edged 0.25 per cent higher to US$0.6909.

It was set to post a 2 per cent loss for the week.

The kiwi has had a particularly trying March, down about 4 per cent.

MILK PRICES SUFFER

In comparison, the US dollar has climbed 0.8 per cent against a basket of global currencies as markets priced in a US Federal Reserve rate hike at its March 14-15 meeting.

The kiwi took a hit this week after a fortnightly dairy auction showed milk prices had suffered heavy losses, raising doubts about a recovery in the country's No. 1 export.

Soft sales and manufacturing data during the week caused more downward momentum.

Investors now await US jobs data out yesterday, which reinforced expectations of a Fed hike next week.

Markets are pricing in more than a 90 per cent chance of an increase after a surprisingly robust private US jobs report out earlier in the week.

New Zealand government bonds eased, sending yields four basis points higher. - REUTERS

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