Aussie Dollar Slides on Concern Greek Crisis Unresolved

Australia’s dollar slid from a seven-month high versus the yen amid concern Greece will face continued difficulties in resolving its debt crisis, damping demand for higher-yielding assets.

The Aussie rose against the dollar as pending home sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast last month. The appeal of New Zealand’s dollar, nicknamed the kiwi, was limited after the nation unexpectedly posted a trade deficit last month.

“The Greek situation is far from concluded,” said Derek Mumford, a director in Sydney at Rochford Capital, a currency-risk management company. “The Aussie has been perhaps showing signs of topping out.”

Australia’s dollar lost 0.2 percent to 86.65 yen at 12:05 p.m. New York time. It earlier rose as much as 0.8 percent to 87.48 yen, the highest level since July 8. The Aussie rose 0.7 percent to $1.0771.

New Zealand’s currency dropped 0.4 percent to 67.60 yen after earlier reaching 68.35 yen, the strongest level since Aug. 1. The kiwi rallied 0.6 percent to 84.09 U.S. cents.

Germany’s lower house of parliament approved a second euro-region Greek bailout package worth 130 billion euros ($174 billion). German Chancellor Angela Merkel and euro-area leaders now shift their focus on whether to bolster the region’s bailout firewall as they prepare for a summit meeting in Brussels on March 1-2.

G-20 Meeting

Finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of 20 nations meeting in Mexico City this weekend concluded that a European review of the financial firewall in March is “essential” before any consideration can be made to boost resources for the International Monetary Fund. Progress will be assessed in April, when officials gather in Washington for the IMF’s spring meetings.

Australia’s dollar has appreciated 2.2 percent this year, according to Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes. Its New Zealand counterpart has gained 5 percent, the best performance among the 10 developed-nation currencies tracked by the gauge.

The index of U.S. pending home resales climbed 2 percent after a 1.9 percent decrease the prior month that was smaller than previously estimated, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The median forecast of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 1 percent rise.

The kiwi weakened after a report today showed New Zealand’s imports exceeded exports by NZ$199 million ($166 million) in January, from a revised NZ$306 million surplus in December. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey was for a NZ$167 million surplus last month.

“The trade figures were undoubtedly worse than market expectations,” said Mike Jones, a foreign-exchange strategist at Bank of New Zealand in Wellington. “The surprise in the trade numbers looks to have come from some temporary one-offs on the imports side. We might see the period of kiwi selling reverse over the rest of the day.”

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