The Australian dollar fell more than 1% to a 11-day low on Tuesday while the New Zealand dollar hit a three-week trough, as investors ramped up bets that both central banks could ease monetary policy as early as next month.
The Australian dollar fell after minutes from the latest central bank meeting left the door open for a possible interest rate cut in August. New Zealand’s currency was dented after the Reserve Bank proposed ways to curb a house price boom, a move also seen as paving the way for a rate cut.
The kiwi hit a three-week low, and was down 1.1% on the day. With lower risk appetite hitting higher-yielding currencies amid a pull-back in oil prices, the Australian dollar also fell.
“The RBA minutes further supported our expectations for a rate cut on Aug 2, where the markets are pricing a 55%probability,” said Hans Redeker, head of currency strategy at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).
“The rhetoric in the minutes was similar to the statement but kept the door wide open for a cut. Currency markets will now be focused on the second-quarter inflation data on July 27, which if it undershoots as it did in New Zealand, would put the Australian dollar under selling pressure.”
The euro slipped after German investor morale fell to its lowest since November 2012, amid unease about Brexit. Expectations that the European Central Bank could sound dovish when it meets later in the year also kept the euro 0.2% against the dollar.
The dollar eased a tad after hitting a 3-1/2-week high of yen, marking a gain of more than 6% from its July 8 low. It rallied from that low as the yen buckled under growing expectations of more monetary easing by the Bank of Japan, a broad recovery in risk appetite and speculation about M&A-related yen selling.
“The dollar is holding up well at the moment so clearly the Bank of Japan monetary policy expectations are baked in,” said Geoffrey Yu, currency strategist at UBS Wealth Management.
“This actually leaves the market exposed to disappointment further down the line if the BOJ don’t deliver.”
Speculators have been betting that the Bank of Japan will further ease policy at its July 28-29 meeting, as the government prepares new fiscal stimulus to boost the economy.