Australia, NZ dlrs ease from one-month highs, bonds gain

04/20/2021 | 10:39pm

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 on Tuesday.

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 March 18.

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 Indeed.

"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 oil demand.

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 demand.

Sliding risk sentiment meant more demand for the safe haven bonds.

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)

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