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Aussie, N.Z. Currencies Gain as Risk Appetite Increases on ECB

The Australian and New Zealand dollars rose against their U.S. counterpart as risk appetite grew after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank is ready to buy bonds to curb Europe’s debt crisis.

The Aussie fell earlier to a four-week low after retail sales grew more slowly than forecast, adding to bets the central bank will cut interest rates in November for a second month. The Aussie and New Zealand’s dollar rose versus the yen as the Bank of Japan began a two-day meeting. Both South Pacific currencies gained as stocks advanced after Draghi said the ECB could buy government bonds as soon as the necessary conditions are met.

The Australian dollar appreciated 0.2 percent to $1.0241 yesterday in New York after falling as much as 0.3 percent earlier to $1.0182, the lowest level since Sept. 6. It increased 0.2 percent to 80.37 yen.

New Zealand’s dollar, nicknamed the kiwi, rose 0.3 percent to 82.18 U.S. cents after earlier declining to 81.66 cents, the least since Sept. 11. It gained 0.3 percent to 64.49 yen.

The kiwi has strengthened 3.6 percent this year, the biggest increase among the 10 developed-nation currencies tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes. The Aussie has fallen 2.3 percent, and the greenback is down 2.7 percent.

U.S. stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gaining 0.7 percent. The S&P GSCI index of raw materials climbed 2.5 percent.

The Australian statistics bureau said retail sales increased 0.2 percent in August from the previous month, advancing at half the pace predicted by a Bloomberg News survey. The figure compared with a 0.8 percent decline in July.

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