The Australian and New Zealand dollars gained against the yen after Japan’s main opposition party reclaimed power in Dec. 16 elections on pledges of increased monetary stimulus.
The Aussie rose to its highest level since May 2011 before the Reserve Bank of Australia releases minutes from this month’s meeting when interest rates were reduced. New Zealand’s dollar touched a four-year high versus the Japanese currency on prospects the election will add to pressure on the Bank of Japan to expand easing as early as this week.
At its last meeting, the RBA “expressed concerns about the outlook for global growth, but maintained a neutral tone, providing no hints about their bias to ease again next year,” Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange at BK Asset Management, an investment advisory firm in New York, wrote today in a note to clients. “Investors will be looking to the minutes for confirmation of the central bank’s bias to ease.”
Australia’s currency appreciated 0.3 percent to 88.52 yen yesterday in New York after earlier touching 89.13. It declined 0.1 percent to $1.0552.
The New Zealand dollar, nicknamed the kiwi, increased 0.3 percent to 70.88 yen. The kiwi fell 0.2 percent to 84.50 U.S. cents.
The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of raw materials was little changed and crude-oil futures rose 0.9 percent to $87.49 per barrel in New York. The S&P 500 Index gained 1.2 percent.
New Zealand’s dollar has strengthened 6.3 percent this year, the biggest increase among the 10 developed-nation currencies monitored by the Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes, and the Aussie has gained 0.5 percent. The U.S. dollar has fallen 3.1 percent and the yen has dropped 12 percent to lead decliners.