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New Zealand’s Dollar Falls After Home-Building Approvals Drop

New Zealand’s dollar weakened against 13 of its 16 most traded counterparts after a government report showed home-building approvals dropped in December.

The Australian dollar rebounded from almost an eight-week low against the yen as U.S. stocks and commodities advanced. The Aussie’s gains were limited as loans provided by the nation’s banks and finance companies rose less than forecast in December.

“It was a big surprise as the market was expecting only a 1.3 percent decline in building permits,” said Eric Viloria, senior currency strategist for Gain Capital Group LLC in New York. “From recent statements the Reserve Bank of New Zealand are going to be on hold a lot longer than expected.”

New Zealand’s dollar weakened 0.2 percent to 63.40 yen at 12:49 p.m. in New York, from 63.53 yen on Jan. 28. It was little changed against the U.S. dollar, buying 77.32 U.S. cents, from 77.36 last week.

Australia’s currency rose 0.2 percent to 81.86 yen, after earlier falling to as low as 80.98, the weakest since Dec. 2. It traded at 99.80 U.S. cents from 99.40 cents.

The kiwi fell after Statistics New Zealand said home-building permits declined 19 percent in December to the lowest level since January 2009.

The nation’s trade deficit widened in December after the delivery of a commercial jet offset an increase in exports to a seven-month high. The shortfall was NZ$250 million ($192 million) from NZ$186 million in November.

Australia’s currency slipped versus the yen as its central bank said loans provided by the nation’s banks and finance companies rose 0.2 percent in December from the previous month, compared with the median estimate for a 0.3 percent gain.

A monthly gauge of Australia’s inflation accelerated in January as floods in the nation’s northeast drove up the cost of fruit, vegetables and utilities, according to an index compiled by TD Securities Ltd. and the Melbourne Institute released today.

The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.7 percent as the Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB index rallied 1.3 percent.

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