Bloomberg News

Australian Dollar Drops for Third Day on European Debt Concern

January 08, 2012

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- The Australian dollar fell for a third day against its U.S. counterpart, its longest losing streak in three weeks, as concern that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis is deepening sapped demand for higher-yielding assets.

The Aussie briefly erased its drop after a report showed U.S. payrolls report swelled and the nation’s unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped. New Zealand’s dollar, nicknamed the kiwi, dropped to a four-day low before trading little changed.

“A worsening of Europe’s debt problem accelerates risk aversion and therefore is a selling catalyst” for the Australian and New Zealand dollars, said Takuya Kawabata, a researcher in Tokyo at Gaitame.com Research Institute Ltd., a unit of Japan’s largest currency margin company.

Australia’s dollar weakened 0.2 percent to $1.0240 at 3:09 p.m. in New York after dropping earlier as much as 0.6 percent. It fell 0.4 percent to 78.85 yen. New Zealand’s currency traded at 78.16 U.S. cents after touching 77.75 yen earlier, the lowest since Jan. 2, and was little changed at 60.20 yen.

Both South Pacific currencies gained for a third week against the greenback, with the Aussie rising 0.3 percent and the kiwi advancing 0.6 percent.

The MSCI World Index of stocks fell 0.4 percent today, and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated 0.9 percent as investors sought safer assets.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 200,000 jobs last month, Labor Department data showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey was for a rise of 155,000. The unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest level since February 2009.

--With assistance from Cordell Eddings in New York. Editors: Greg Storey, Dennis Fitzgerald

To contact the reporter on this story: Masaki Kondo in Singapore at mkondo3@bloomberg.net

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


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