June 10 (Bloomberg) -- The Australian dollar fell to almost a two-week low as stocks and gold fell, damping demand for growth-sensitive currencies.
The Aussie weakened as global stocks headed for a second weekly loss and commodity prices slumped. New Zealand’s dollar traded at almost a record high against the greenback after data showed China’s imports gained more than forecast, boosting sales prospects for the South Pacific nation’s products.
“The global growth momentum has clearly slowed,” said Robert Rennie, chief currency strategist in Sydney at Westpac Banking Corp. “Commodities are softer and equities are softer. I’m not really sure why you’d want to buy the Aussie right here, right now.”
Australia’s dollar dropped to $1.0558 at 1 p.m. in New York from $1.0627 in New York yesterday. It earlier touched $1.0533, the weakest since May 26. The currency fell 0.8 percent to 84.72 yen from 85.40.
New Zealand’s dollar traded at 82.35 U.S. cents from 82.48 yesterday, when it reached a record 83.02. It fetched 66.09 yen from 66.28.
The MSCI World Index fell 1.3 percent and headed for a 2.3 percent weekly decline, a second consecutive loss. Gold slipped 0.5 percent. The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB index fell 0.9 percent, erasing a weekly gain.
China’s trade surplus rose to $13.05 billion in May from $11.42 billion in April, as imports increased 28 percent and exports gained 19 percent last month from a year earlier, the government reported today. Economists had forecast a 22 percent increase in imports. China is Australia’s largest trading partner and New Zealand’s second-biggest export market.
The kiwi gained against all of its 16 major counterparts this week after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand said yesterday commodity prices remain “very strong” and interest rates will rise within two years.
The RBNZ yesterday left its official cash rate unchanged at a record-low 2.5 percent. Australia’s central bank kept the key rate at 4.75 percent on June 7 and said current policy settings are appropriate.
--With assistance from Allison Bennett in New York. Editors: Paul Cox, Dave Liedtka
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