CANBERA: Australian and New Zealand dollars both hit four-month highs on Friday as their U.S. counterpart came under broad based pressure, though trade figures from China proved too mixed to provide any further impetus. The Aussie dollar broke above 79 cents for the first time since September to top out at $0.7906, before profit-taking hauled it back to $0.7880. A surprisingly strong report on Australian retail sales on Thursday had helped the Aussie clear first-line resistance at $0.7884. It went on to crack a top from October at $0.7898, a break that was bullish for a move to chart targets at $0.7949 and $0.7978. “We think there is further scope for gains, especially as the domestic story is supportive,” said analysts at ANZ. “Further, the U.S. dollar is unloved, at present, global growth is solid and commodities are generally performing well.” The Thomson Reuters CRB index of commodities , which covers a broad range of sectors, reached its highest in a year overnight having risen in 17 of the last 19 sessions.
Australia is the world’s largest exporter of iron ore and a major supplier of coal, copper, gold and liquefied natural gas. Commodities have been underpinned by surprisingly resilient demand from China, partly as Beijing’s efforts to curb pollution lead to more imports of high quality iron ore and coal for Australia. The New Zealand dollar stood at $0.7261, after reaching a four-month peak of $0.7275 and held gains for the week of 1.3 percent. It got a leg up when domestic data showed a sharp rebound in consents to build new homes and eased concerns about the housing market. “The NZD looks poised for some catch-up with its commodity currency peers, suggesting that tactical longs on the crosses may be increasingly attractive,” said Citi analysts in a note.