Aussie, N.Z. Dollars Fall After ECB Official Comments on Euro

The Australian and New Zealand dollars fell versus the euro after European Central Bank council member Jens Weidmann said the shared currency isn’t seriously overvalued.

The Aussie, as the Australian dollar is nicknamed, dropped versus a majority of its most-traded peers after raw materials fell and the number of loans granted to build or buy houses and apartments declined for a third month. The Australian business-confidence index for January will be released today, while a consumer confidence index will be issued tomorrow.

“The Aussie is under pressure before the confidence surveys and as investors look for borrowing rates to be cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia next month,” Joe Manimbo, a market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions, said by telephone from Washington, D.C. “The kiwi had a sideways session, as investors were lightening up on risky assets before growth numbers from Japan and Europe and in front of the G-20 meeting on Friday.”

The Aussie weakened 0.9 percent to A$1.3072 per euro yesterday in New York trading. It fell 0.6 percent against the dollar to $1.0254.

The New Zealand dollar, nicknamed the kiwi, lost 0.4 percent to NZ$1.6054 per euro and was little changed at 83.54 U.S. cents.

Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials fell as much as 0.8 percent before paring the loss to 0.1 percent.

Weidmann Comments

The euro gained against a majority of its 16 most-traded peers after Weidmann, who heads Germany’s Bundesbank, warned governments against trying to weaken the 17-nation currency. Weidmann’s comment followed a report that the Group of Seven nations are considering releasing a statement on exchange rates this week to calm concern the world is on the brink of a currency war, three officials from G-7 countries said.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the G-20 meet Feb. 15-16 in Moscow.

Australia’s statistics bureau said the number of loans granted to build or buy houses and apartments declined 1.5 percent in December from the previous month, when they fell a revised 0.7 percent.

The Aussie fell 2.5 percent during the past three months among the 10 developed-nation currencies monitored by the Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes. The kiwi gained 1.7 percent, and the euro climbed 4.8 percent. The greenback dropped 1.1 percent.

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