The Australian dollar held its first gain in almost a week before the Reserve Bank of Australia sets policy and China releases manufacturing data for last month.
The Aussie is the best performer among Group-of-10 currencies this quarter after the New Zealand dollar, as swap markets price in a negligible chance of the RBA cutting its record-low 2 percent benchmark at Tuesday’s meeting. Governor Glenn Stevens said last week traders should “chill out” on interest-rate speculation until February. Australia’s dollar advanced for the past two months and has held above a six-year low touched in September despite a slump in the price of iron ore, the country’s biggest export.
The Australian currency was little changed at 72.33 U.S. cents as of 8:48 a.m. in Tokyo, after climbing 0.5 percent Monday in its first gain since Nov. 24. The Aussie strengthened 3 percent over the past two months, rallying from a slump that pushed it to a six-year low of 68.96 on Sept. 7.
Asian stocks were dragged lower by Australian banks after Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. said it’s raising capital. Chinese shares fell amid concern government intervention will fail to stop more declines.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp. slumped at least 3 percent after ANZ said it’s seeking to procure A$ 3 billion ($ 2.2 billion) amid moves by regulators to make Australian banks safer. The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.9 percent on low trading volumes. Japan’s Topix index climbed 0.5 percent as investors weighed company earnings and after the yen weakened against the dollar amid better-than-estimated U.S. economic data.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.2 percent to 140.76 as of 4:01 p.m. in Hong Kong. Australian financial shares were the biggest drag on the regional gauge. The country’s largest lenders have already announced about A$ 8 billion of capital raisings this year, the most in any year since 2008, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index sank 1.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 0.8 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell o.1 percent and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index dropped 0.2 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.6 percent and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks mainland shares listed in the city, slid 0.3 percent.
Source : Bloomberg