Australian Dollar Gains Against Majors After RBA Minutes

The Australian dollar rose for a second day against its U.S. peer after minutes showed the central bank saw domestic economic growth overshadowing a “fragile” global outlook at its Aug. 7 policy meeting.

The so-called Aussie gained against most of its major peers as the Reserve Bank of Australia made no mention of intervening to curb the currency’s strength, which has persisted despite a decline in the terms of trade. The Australian and New Zealand currencies were also buoyed by speculation talks among European leaders this week will lead to stronger measures to counter the region’s debt crisis, boosting risk demand.

“The market was looking for a fair bit more commentary on the Aussie dollar itself,” said David Forrester, senior vice-president for Group of 10 foreign-exchange strategy at Macquarie Bank Ltd. in Singapore, after the RBA’s last monetary policy statement when it “seemed to ramp up its rhetoric about the currency.”

The Australian dollar rose, climbing 0.4 percent to $1.0486 yesterday in New York after rising 0.2 percent on Aug. 20.

New Zealand’s currency, nicknamed the kiwi, gained 0.5 percent to 81.27 U.S. cents.

The RBA’s decision to leave its benchmark rate unchanged at 3.5 percent was “appropriate” given the outlook for domestic inflation and growth even though “the global economic environment remained fragile,” according to the minutes released yesterday.

‘Global Outlook’

The bank also said that the Australian dollar exchange rate “had remained at a relatively high level notwithstanding the weakening in the global outlook and decline in commodity prices.”

The Australian dollar has risen 2.7 percent versus the greenback this year even as the ratio of export prices to import prices has fallen by 17 percent, according to a Citigroup Inc. index.

“The sense that we’re getting across our trading desk is that a number of investors were short heading into these minutes, expecting some sort of comment possibly on intervention, and we’re just seeing those positions unwound,” said Andrew Salter, a strategist in Sydney at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. A short position is a bet that a currency or asset will decline in value.

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