The Australian dollar edged higher against its U.S. counterpart on Monday, while the New Zealand dollar slipped lower as markets were jittery ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting this week amid uncertainty over the timing of future U.S. rate hikes.
AUD/USD edged up 0.18% to 0.7388.
Optimism over the strength of the U.S. economy was boosted after the U.S. Department of Labor said on Thursday that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending June 4 fell unexpectedly to 264,000.
On Friday, the University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index fell to 94.3 in June from 94.7 the previous month, compared to expectations for a decline to 94.0.
But markets seem to have pushed back expectations on the timing of the next rate hike by the U.S. central bank after a dismal U.S. employment report for May, which showed the slowest rate of jobs growth since September 2010.
In addition, a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen last Monday indicated that interest rates won’t rise until uncertainty over the economic outlook is resolved.
NZD/USD slipped 0.16% to trade at 0.7043.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at a one-week high of 94.64.