November 3, 2015 / 8:48 AM / 2 years ago

FOREX-Higher risk appetite drives Aussie higher as RBA stands pat

* RBA leaves rates unchanged, Aussie gains

* Dollar little changed vs euro and yen in subdued market

* U.S. non-farm payroll on Friday seen as crucial

By Jemima Kelly

LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Australia’s dollar gained almost 1 percent on Tuesday in an otherwise subdued currency market, after the country’s central bank declined to cut interest rates further and as investors’ appetite for risk increased.

The dollar, euro and yen trod water, with activity reduced by a holiday in Tokyo and as traders eyed Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls report, seen as critical in the Federal Reserve’s deliberations over whether to lift interest rates in December.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept its cash rate steady at a record low of 2.0 percent. Although it said low inflation offered scope to ease further if needed, the decision disappointed those who had been betting that the central bank would cut rates for a third time this year.

“Clearly the market had been looking for rate cut and the chances of it have fallen as there’s only one more meeting left before year-end,” said Societe Generale currency strategist Alvin Tan in London.

“Also the Aussie is enjoying a bit of a belated bounce following the recent improvement in risk sentiment, which was held back into the RBA meeting.”

The Australian dollar rose to as high as $0.7220 after the decision. It touched a 6-1/2-year low of $0.6892 early in September when risk appetite globally was at a low ebb amid China worries. But the currency rebounded to as high as $0.7382 in mid-October as appetites grew.

The dollar index was barely changed at 96.940 after drifting between 96.635 and 96.965 all of Monday. The euro was hemmed in a tight $1.1000 to $1.1030 range and last stood at $1.1008, down 0.1 percent on the day.

Against the yen, the greenback was equally restrained, trading flat at 120.72.

A crop of industry surveys on Monday pointed to another subdued month for manufacturers across the globe, though a rise in new orders offered hope the United States might have seen its worst.

“Investors appear to be in a holding pattern ahead of bigger event risks later in the week,” said Raiko Shareef, currency strategist at BNZ in Wellington.

Elsewhere, in the world of web-based “cryptocurrencies”, bitcoin was on a tear. It hit an 11-month high of $377.92 on the Bitstamp exchange on Tuesday, having gained over 80 percent since dipping below $200 in late August. (Additional reporting by Ian Chua in Sydney and Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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