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Aussie, kiwi higher vs. greenback after data

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were higher against their U.S. counterpart on Thursday, helped by upbeat data from Australia and after the Federal Reserve decided to leave interest rates unchanged. AUD/USD climbed 0.69% to 0.7641, the highest since November 10.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported on Thursday that building approvals declined by 1.2% in December, compared to expectations for a 2.0% drop. Building approvals increased by 7.5% in November, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 7.0% rise.

A separate report showed that Australia’s trade surplus widened to A$3.511 billion in December from A$2.040 billion in November, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated surplus of A$1.243 billion. Analysts had expected the trade surplus to hit A$2.200 billion in December.

In other news, a telephone discussion between U.S. President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was said to have ended badly.Trump reportedly told Turnbull that the Australian-U.S. refugee deal brokered by the Obama administration "was the worst deal ever" when the latter attempted to secure confirmation that the U.S. would follow through with its promise.
NZD/USD edged up 0.15% to trade at 0.7290, not far from Tuesday’s nearly three-month peak of 0.7356.

Meanwhile, the greenback weakened after the Fed said, at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting, that some market-based measures of inflation were still low. However, the U.S. central bank also said that job creations remained solid, inflation had increased and economic confidence was rising.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.25% at 99.44, just off a two-and-a-half month low of 99.39.

AG Markets Review

Thursday, 02 Feb, 2017 / 4:48

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