July 16, 2020 / 4:15 AM / a month ago

Australia, New Zealand dollars stumble at resistance as mixed data fails to cheer

SYDNEY, July 16 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars eased back on Thursday as domestic and Chinese economic news proved too mixed to provide the impetus needed to crack major chart resistance.

The Aussie dipped to $0.6990 having topped out at a five-week high of $0.7038 overnight. It again stalled short of the June peak of $0.7069, reinforcing the importance of that barrier.

The kiwi dollar faded to $0.6556 from a top of $0.6582 and again failed to clear resistance around $0.6600. It still has solid support at the week’s low of $0.6504.

Both tried to rally when data showed the Chinese economy rebounded by more than expected in the June quarter, only to be frustrated by a disappointing retail sales outcome.

Domestic figures showed employment rebounded by a record 210,800 in June as the economy reopened, but even more people resumed looking for work so the jobless rate actually rose to 7.4%, from 7.1%.

The report had plenty for bulls and bears, with hours worked surging a hefty 4% but all the jobs created being part time. The future was also clouded by the lockdown of Melbourne for six weeks as Victoria struggled to contain a new viral outbreak.

“This isn’t usually an optimal mix however it does reflect an economy getting back on its feet as employers start to re-employ back part-time staff,” said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

“Broadly these trends should continue in the months ahead, albeit with state level differences given the level three restrictions in place in Melbourne, as the participation rate rises along with jobs gained.”

Across in New Zealand, figures showed consumer prices fell 0.5% in the June quarter, the first drop in four years, while annual inflation slowed to 1.5% from 2.5%. “Recessions kill inflation and we expect inflation to continue to fade over the remainder of this year and into next,” said Mary Jo Vergara, an economist at Kiwibank.

“Deflationary pressure demands monetary policy to remain expansionary for the foreseeable future,” she added, predicting the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) would again expand its bond buying campaign likely in August.

The RBNZ is already committed to buying NZ$60 billion ($39.36 billion) of debt, but Kiwibank expects that to rise toward NZ$100 billion. A term funding facility for banks could also help lower borrowing costs, Vergara added.

$1 = 1.5244 New Zealand dollars Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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