Australia dollar fails at chart resistance, NZ$ pauses at 19-month highs

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Australian dollar slipped on Thursday after once again failing at key chart barrier of 73 U.S. cents while its New Zealand counterpart took a breather at 19-month highs.

FILE PHOTO: Australian dollars are seen in an illustration photo February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/File Photo

The Australian dollar AUD=D4 was last at $0.7272 after hitting a high of $0.7319 on Wednesday.

Technical analysts see major chart resistance at $0.73, a level the Aussie has breached twice this week but has failed to sustain above.

Data out earlier showed net migration slipped 4,530 in September after a heftier fall in August. Over the past six months almost 16,000 people have left Australia in net terms, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed.

“Apart from times of war, there has never been a time like this,” CommSec economist Craig James said.

“Economists are hoping for economic growth of 3%-5% over the next year or two. But getting the ‘V-shaped’ recovery is dependent on finding a safe way to open foreign borders and enticing more people to call Australia home.”

Migration, which last year accounted for about two thirds of Australia’s population growth, is critical to the country’s A$2 trillion economy.

Investor focus is also on escalating Australia-China tensions, though analysts said it was yet to hurt the Aussie which is being supported by a weaker greenback. [FRX]

The New Zealand dollar NZD=D4 was a shade weaker at $0.6879, after earlier hitting a high of $0.6915 - a level last seen in March 2019.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) proved to be the wind under the kiwi’s wings on Wednesday as it reiterated the official cash rate would stay at 0.25% until March 2021, leading markets to price out the chance of negative rates.

The RBNZ also introduced a new funding facility for banks to lower their borrowing costs, saying it would have a much bigger impact on lending rates than trimming the cash rate slightly.

“We have upgraded our NZD outlook,” analysts at National Australia Bank (NAB) said in a note. “A move to $0.70 looks to be ahead of schedule, supported by a change in our RBNZ policy view.”

NAB economists now see the official cash rate at 0.25% next year.

New Zealand government bonds <0#NZTSY=> rose slightly with yields on the long-end down 2 basis points.

Australian government bond futures were mixed, with the three-year bond contract YTTc1 flat at 99.81. The 10-year contract YTCc1 jumped 6.5 ticks to 99.07.

Editing by Stephen Coates