Australian Dollar Climbs to Five-Month High on Growth Outlook

The Australian dollar climbed to its strongest level in five months versus the greenback as signs of sustained economic growth in China and the U.S. boosted demand for higher-yielding assets.

New Zealand’s currency traded near a five-week high after China reported on Sept. 11 retail sales and industrial production that topped economists’ estimates. Both South Pacific currencies, which benefit from growth that boosts demand for commodities, touched one-month highs versus the yen before a report tomorrow forecast to show U.S. retail sales increased for a second month.

“The concerns around China have dissipated quite a bit, and similarly for the U.S. concerns about a double-dip recession have abated,” said Imre Speizer, a market strategist in Wellington at Westpac Banking Corp., Australia’s second-largest lender. “Both the commodity currencies have a firm tone on the Chinese data.”

Australia’s currency, known as the Aussie, rose 0.9 percent to 93.45 U.S. cents at 2:43 p.m. in New York, from 92.66 cents on Sept. 10. It touched 93.62 cents, the strongest since April 15. The currency reached 78.54 yen, the highest level since Aug. 10, before trading at 78.15 yen, from 77.97 on Sept. 10.

New Zealand’s dollar, nicknamed the kiwi, appreciated 0.6 percent to 73.28 U.S. cents, from 72.85 cents last week, and touched 73.43, the strongest level since Aug. 6. It reached 61.79 yen, the highest since Aug. 13, before trading little changed at 61.28 yen.

The Aussie will face selling pressure over the next week or more as it approaches 94 U.S. cents, said Speizer, while New Zealand’s currency will be sold toward 74 cents.

Chinese industrial output rose 13.9 percent in August from a year earlier, the most in three months, and retail sales grew 18.4 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Sept. 11. Both figures beat forecasts in Bloomberg surveys.

U.S. retail sales gained 0.3 percent in August, economists in another Bloomberg survey predicted before the Commerce Department reports the data tomorrow. Sales increased 0.4 percent in July.

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