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Aussie Drops From Record on Europe Debt Concern After ECB Loans

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Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The Australian and New Zealand dollars swung between gains and losses, tracking stocks on concern European Central Bank measures to boost liquidity may not stem the region’s debt crisis.

The Aussie rose to a record versus the euro before trimming the gain after the ECB said it had awarded 489 billion euros ($637 billion) in 1,134-day loans to banks, more than the 293 billion euros forecast by economists. A report showed the New Zealand’s current-account deficit widened.

“What began as a risk-on day is ending up to be a risk-off day,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy in New York at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., in a phone interview. “The buy-the-rumor, sell-the-fact on the euro helped drag down the other currencies and the stock market.”

The Australian dollar rose as much as 0.9 percent to 77.73 euro cents, a record, before trading at 77.11, up 0.1 percent at 12:38 p.m. in New York. It touched $1.0219, the most since Dec. 12, before trading little changed at $1.0075. The Aussie was little changed at 78.55 yen after earlier reaching 79.37, the highest since Dec. 8.

New Zealand’s dollar was little changed at 76.78 U.S. cents, after rising to 77.76 U.S. cents, the strongest since Dec. 8. The so-called kiwi held steady at 59.88 yen.

Gains in the New Zealand dollar were limited after a report showed the country’s current-account deficit widened by more than economists had forecast.

The shortfall was 4.3 percent of gross domestic product in the year ended Sept. 30, from 3.7 percent in the 12 months through June, Statistics New Zealand said in Wellington today. Economists predicted a 3.9 percent gap, according to the median of 11 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.

UBS AG expects the Australian dollar to rise to $1.04 in one month and New Zealand’s currency to advance to 80 U.S. cents in the same time period.

The Australian dollar has fallen 1.6 percent against its U.S. counterpart this year, and so has the kiwi.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chris Fournier in Halifax, Canada at Cfournier3@bloomberg.net; 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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