Australian, N.Z. Dollars Rise as Stocks Rally, U.S. Economic Data Improve

The Australian and New Zealand dollars advanced for a second day as global equities rallied on stronger demand for higher-yielding assets.

The South Pacific nations’ currencies rebounded from two- week lows after reports added to signs the U.S. economy is gaining momentum even as Europe struggles to contain its debt crisis. Advances in the Aussie were limited before the Reserve Bank of Australia releases minutes next week of its Dec. 6 meeting when the central bank implemented a second-straight interest-rate cut.

“The market has already factored in a fairly negative outcome from Europe and there’s some scope for sentiment to improve,” said Greg Gibbs, a foreign-exchange strategist in Sydney at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. The Australian dollar is likely to “firm up,” he said.

The Australian dollar advanced 0.7 percent to 99.88 U.S. cents at 11:21 a.m. New York time, trimming its five-day decline to 2.2 percent. It sank to as low as 98.62 cents yesterday, the least since Nov. 28. It gained 0.4 percent to 77.59 yen today.

New Zealand’s currency rose 1.4 percent to 76.40 U.S. cents, paring its weekly drop to 1.5 percent. Before rallying yesterday, the kiwi fell to as low as 74.62, its weakest level since Nov. 28. It climbed 1.2 percent to 59.35 yen.

The MSCI World Index of shares added 0.7 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. stocks gained 1 percent.

RBA Minutes

The RBA is scheduled to release on Dec. 20 the minutes of its most recent policy meeting, when it reduced the overnight cash rate target to 4.25 percent from 4.5 percent, the second reduction in two months.

“Until the RBA surprises and doesn’t deliver on what the market currently has priced in, you would expect the Australian dollar to have a grinding selloff,” said Gavin Stacey, chief interest-rate strategist at Barclays Capital in Sydney.

A Credit Suisse Group AG index based on swaps shows traders are betting that Australia’s central bank will cut rates by 135 basis points during the next 12 months. That compares with wagers for 112 basis points of easing indicated on Dec. 7, the day after the RBA’s last policy meeting.

The Australian dollar has fallen 2.5 percent against its U.S. counterpart since this year, while the kiwi has dropped 2.1 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mariko Ishikawa in Tokyo at mishikawa9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rocky Swift at rswift5@bloomberg.net.

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