Bloomberg News

Aussie Drops to One-Month Low as Greece Concern Saps Risk Bid

September 12, 2011

Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The Australian dollar dropped to the lowest level in a month against its U.S. counterpart as concern Greece may default encouraged investors to sell higher-yielding assets.

The Aussie weakened after Germany’s officials said last week that the government is preparing to protect the nation’s banks in the event Greece misses a payment on its debt. Demand for Australia’s currency was also curbed after data showed the nation’s trade surplus was narrower than economists forecast.

“Unless there’s some major statements from the European authorities about resolving the debt situation, I think the euro, Aussie and kiwi will all fall this week,” said Joseph Capurso, a currency strategist in Sydney at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s biggest lender.

Australia’s dollar depreciated 1.6 percent to $1.0307 at 12:11 p.m. in New York, from $1.0470 on Sept. 9, after touching $1.0276, the lowest level since Aug. 12. The New Zealand currency traded at 82.03 U.S. cents, compared with 82.21, after falling to 81.19, the weakest since Aug. 11.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.8 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of stocks fell 2.3 percent, and the MSCI World Index sank 1.6 percent.

Officials in Germany’s government are debating how to shore up the country’s banks in the event that Greece fails to meet the budget-cutting terms of its aid package and is unable to get a bailout-loan payment, three coalition officials said Sept. 9.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jose Barroso agreed on the “paramount” importance of the euro for Europe and Germany, the German government said after the two met in Berlin today.

Australia’s exports exceeded imports by A$1.83 billion ($1.9 billion) in July, compared with a revised A$1.82 billion surplus in the previous month, the Bureau of Statistics said today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists was for a surplus of A$1.9 billion.

--With assistance from Catarina Saraiva in New York. Editors: Dennis Fitzgerald

To contact the reporters on this story: Mariko Ishikawa in Tokyo at mishikawa9@bloomberg.net; Monami Yui in Tokyo at myui1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dave Liedtka at dliedtka@bloomberg.net


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