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Aussie, New Zealand Dollars Climb to Record Highs Against Euro

The Australian and New Zealand dollars rose to record highs against the euro as the shared currency tumbled versus after the European Central Bank disappointed investors hoping for more steps to combat the region’s debt crisis.

New Zealand’s currency rose against all of its 16 most-traded counterparts tracked by Bloomberg after whole-milk powder prices climbed for the first time in six weeks. The Aussie dollar gained versus most peers as data showed improvement in retail sales and trade, boosting prospects the Reserve Bank of Australia will leave interest rates unchanged next week. Commodities and stocks fell after the ECB meeting.

“With this risk-off scenario, I would have expected the commodities to have pared a wee bit more,” Dean Popplewell, head analyst in Toronto at the online currency-trading firm Oanda Corp. said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Australia’s dollar climbed to a record A$1.1606 per euro yesterday in New York before trading at A$1.1640. The Aussie was little changed at $1.0465 and declined 0.2 percent to 81.88 yen.

New Zealand’s dollar, nicknamed the kiwi, reached a record NZ$1.4995 per euro before trading at NZ$1.5035. The kiwi appreciated 0.3 percent to 81.02 U.S. cents. It was little changed at 63.39 yen.

The market focus will now shift to the U.S., Popplewell said. The Labor Department will report today that American payrolls added 100,000 jobs last month, after an increase of 80,000 in June, a Bloomberg News survey forecast.

Seeking Exit

“If the number comes in extremely soft, I think whatever risk-on trades that are still out there, they will certainly be looking toward the exit, and that will certainly hurt the commodity currencies,” Popplewell said.

The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials fell 1.6 percent, and the Standard & Poor’s stock index dropped as much as 1.5 percent.

Retail sales in Australia climbed 1 percent in June after a revised 0.8 percent advance in the previous month, the Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. The nation had a trade surplus of A$9 million ($9.4 million) in the same period, versus estimates for a A$375 million shortfall, a separate report showed.

Milk-powder prices for October delivery increased 4.5 percent, according to a trade-weighted index on Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd.’s GlobalDairyTrade website. Auckland-based Fonterra accounts for about 40 percent of the global trade in dairy products.

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