The Australian and New Zealand dollars were lower against their U.S. counterpart on Thursday, weighed by the release of downbeat Chinese trade data and as the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting confirmed the possibility of an upcoming rate hike.
AUD/USD slid 0.34% to 0.7534, the lowest since September 19.
Earlier Thursday, data showed that China’s trade surplus narrowed to $41.99 billion in September from $52.05 billion the previous month. Analysts had expected the trade surplus to widen to $53.00 billion last month.
The report showed that China’s exports dropped 10.0% in September, compared to expectations for a 3.0% fall, while imports declined by 1.9%, confounding expectations for an increase of 1.0%.
China is Australia’s biggest export partner and New Zealand’s second biggest export partner.
NZD/USD edged down 0.10% to trade at 0.7056, after hitting a more than two-month low of 0.7037 overnight.
Meanwhile, the greenback found some support after the minutes of the Fed’s September policy meeting released on Wednesday showed several voting members of the policy committee judged a rate hike would be warranted “relatively soon” if the U.S. economy continued to strengthen.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 97.93, just off a fresh seven-month high of 98.11 hit overnight.