Australian, N.Z. Dollars Strengthen Most in a Month as Commodities Climb

The Australian and New Zealand dollars had their biggest weekly gains in a month against their U.S. counterpart as commodities climbed, supporting demand for higher-yielding assets.

The two South Pacific currencies rallied as the Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 raw materials advanced for a third straight day, rising 1.1 percent. The measure gained 4.9 percent for the week, the most since October 2009.

“Commodities are surging,” said Brian Dolan, chief strategist at FOREX.com, a unit of the online currency trading firm Gain Capital in Bedminster, New Jersey. “The markets are still quite optimistic on the outlook for the global recovery.”

Australia’s dollar rose 1.3 percent today and advanced 2.5 percent this week to 98.97 U.S. cents at 2:01 p.m. in New York. It was the biggest weekly gain since Nov. 5. The currency gained 0.1 percent today and 1.1 percent for the week to 81.99 yen.

New Zealand’s dollar, nicknamed the kiwi, strengthened 1.2 percent today and climbed 1.8 percent on the week, also the most since Nov. 5, to 76.40 U.S. cents. It gained 0.4 percent for the week to 63.30 yen.

The Australian currency briefly pared its weekly gain today after a report showed the nation’s services industry contracted in November. The performance-of services index fell 4.5 points to 46.2, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the Australian Industry Group said today. A figure below 50 indicates contraction.

U.S. Service Industries

The Aussie and kiwi gained today as data showed U.S. service industries expanded in November at the fastest pace in six months. The Institute for Supply Management’s non- manufacturing index, which covers about 90 percent of the economy, rose to 55, from 54.3 in October.

The currencies rose even as data showed U.S. employers added 39,000 jobs last month, less than one-third the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The Labor Department revised October’s gain up to 172,000 jobs, the biggest gain since May.

The U.S. was the third-biggest overseas market for New Zealand after Australia and China during the 12 months ended October, according to data gathered by Statistics New Zealand.

To contact the reporters on this story: Daniel Kruger in New York at dkruger1@bloomberg.net; Masaki Kondo in Tokyo at mkondo3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dave Liedtka at dliedtka@bloomberg.net

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