Aussie Dollar Gains First Time in Five Days; N.Z. Dollar Rises

Australia’s dollar gained versus against its U.S. counterpart for the first time in five days as investor risk appetite swelled and commodities and stocks rose.

The Aussie strengthened against the majority of its 16 most-traded peers as the nation’s business confidence rebounded in December by the most in more than a decade. New Zealand’s dollar, nicknamed the kiwi, advanced versus the greenback as the nation’s annual trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed.

Australia’s dollar gained 0.6 percent to $1.0475 in New York trading yesterday and rose 0.4 percent to 95.01 yen.

The New Zealand dollar advanced 0.7 percent to 83.95 U.S. cents. The kiwi was up 0.5 percent to 76.15 yen.

Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials gained as much as 0.9 percent, the largest intraday jump since Jan. 17. The S&P 500 Index advanced 0.5 percent.

National Australia Bank’s Ltd.’s confidence index, based on a survey of more than 500 companies, rose to a reading of 3 last month from negative 9 the previous month, according to a report released yesterday. The increase is the biggest improvement in sentiment since October 2001. The business conditions gauge, a measure of hiring, sales and profits, improved to negative 4 from a revised negative 6.

In New Zealand, imports exceeded exports by NZ$1.21 billion ($1 billion) in 2012, compared with a revised NZ$1.39 billion shortfall in the year through November, the statistics office in Wellington said yesterday. Economists in a Bloomberg News survey forecast a gap of NZ$1.87 billion. Home-building approvals rose 9.4 percent in December, more than forecast, data showed.

The Australian dollar rose 0.8 percent over the past month among the 10 developed-nation currencies monitored by the Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes. The kiwi gained 2.2 percent. The U.S. dollar fell 0.3 percent, and the yen tumbled 6.2 percent.

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