August 6, 2013 / 6:51 AM / 4 years ago

FOREX-Aussie up as RBA offers no clear hints on more easing

3 Min Read

* Aussie rises after RBA cuts rates by 25 bps as expected

* RBA offers no clear sign that it would ease again

* Dollar edges higher vs yen, pulls up from intraday low

By Masayuki Kitano

SINGAPORE, Aug 6 (Reuters) - The Australian dollar pushed higher on Tuesday after Australia's central bank cut interest rates as expected and refrained from offering a clear hint that it may ease monetary policy further.

Moves in other major currencies were relatively subdued, with the euro easing 0.1 percent to $1.3247, while the U.S. dollar edged up 0.3 percent versus the yen to 98.53 yen .

The big mover on the day was the Australian dollar, which gained 0.6 percent to $0.8982, pulling away from a three-year low of $0.8848 set on Monday.

The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its main cash rate by a quarter point to a record low of 2.5 percent on Tuesday as it tries to prepare the economy for life after the mining boom.

The Aussie dollar rose as there had been some speculation about the possibility of a 50 basis point rate cut, and also because the RBA's statement suggested that it may be shifting from an easing bias to a more neutral policy stance, said Hamish Pepper, currency strategist at Barclays in Singapore.

"Previously they'd said the inflation outlook could provide some scope to ease policy further should that be required to support demand. Now that sentence is still there, but they refer to it in past tense," Pepper said.

The change has "captured the market's attention and potentially it suggests that the RBA might be moving to a more neutral policy stance," he said.

While the Aussie dollar is likely to continue to be pressured by slowing growth in China as well as a strengthening U.S. economy and rising U.S. yields, it may gain some support in the near-term, Pepper said.

"Positioning is extremely short. Most of the market, it seems, has been selling Aussie dollars up to this point, so perhaps this is a good juncture to take profit on those trades," Pepper said.

The Australian dollar pushed higher against the yen as well, gaining 0.8 percent on the day to 88.48 yen.

The U.S. dollar gained some respite versus the yen, having retreated earlier after data on Friday showed that U.S. employers slowed their pace of hiring in July.

That outcome had strengthened the view that the Fed could wait until late in the year before scaling back its bond-buying programme, rather than start its tapering in September.

The dollar had slipped versus the yen earlier in the day, partly due to stop-loss dollar selling, but regained ground as Japan's benchmark Nikkei share average pared losses and turned higher, market players said.

Increases in Tokyo shares can be seen as positive for investor risk appetites and spur selling of the yen, a traditional safe haven currency that tends to rise in times of market stress.

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