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Australian Dollar Gains for First Time in 3 Weeks; Kiwi Drops

Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s dollar advanced for the first week this month against its U.S. counterpart, after touching the lowest level last week since March, as commodities prices increased.

“It’s risk on, risk off, really -- simple as that,” said James Shugg, a senior economist at Westpac Banking Corp. in London. “It’s just been ebbing and flowing on the back of risk appetite.”

New Zealand’s dollar, nicknamed the kiwi, fell for a third straight week, dropping against all of its 16 most-traded peers. It was the longest losing streak since May 2010. The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials gained 1.2 percent in its first weekly increase in a month, while the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index of stocks fell 2 percent.

Australia’s dollar appreciated 0.8 percent for the week to $1.0438 and was up 0.5 percent today at 1:20 p.m. in New York. The Aussie advanced 0.4 percent this week and rose 0.2 percent today to 79.74 yen.

New Zealand’s currency depreciated 1.2 percent to 82.19 U.S. cents, from 83.22 cents on Aug. 12. It was little changed today. The kiwi lost 0.6 percent against the greenback this week. It dropped 1.7 percent this week and fell 0.2 percent today to 62.79 yen.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Ragazzo in New York at jragazzo@bloomberg.net

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

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