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NZ dollar rises above 90 Aust cts for the 1st time in five years ahead of RBA

The New Zealand dollar rose above 90 Australian cents for the first time in five years as traders bet the Reserve Bank of Australia will attempt to talk its currency down at its policy review this afternoon.

The kiwi touched a high of 90.03 Australian cents early this morning, a level not reached since October 2008. The local currency was trading at 89.82 Australian cents at 8am in Wellington from 89.56 cents at the 5pm market close yesterday. The kiwi slipped to 81.71 US cents from 81.94 cents yesterday.

Trade data yesterday supports evidence of an economic revival which will push interest rates higher. The kiwi has been advancing against its trans-Tasman counterpart as Australian central bank officials try to talk down the value of their currency in an attempt to boost economic growth. The RBA will release its latest statement at 4:30pm.

"The kiwi/Aussie has blown out overnight," said Stuart Ive, senior client advisor, foreign exchange and derivatives at OM Financial. "Everyone is expecting the RBA to effectively jawbone their currency lower. The markets may be positioning themselves a little bit for this afternoon, hoping that within the RBA statement they continue their bearish tone."

OM Financial's Ive said the kiwi faces near term resistance at 90.85 Australian cents.

Central bank officials in New Zealand and Australia are betting their currencies will move lower as the US Federal Reserve pulls back on its US$85 billion a month bond buying programme, Ive said. Still, better economic data in both countries is proving a headwind to lower currencies, he said.

In New Zealand today, traders will be eyeing the ANZ commodity price index at 1pm.

Australia has data on the current account and retail sales at 1:30pm New Zealand time.

The New Zealand dollar touched 84.41 yen overnight, its highest level in almost seven months on speculation the Bank of Japan may expand economic stimulus.

Japan's central bank is looking to go beyond its US$70 billion a month bond buying operation, Reuters reported, citing officials briefed on the process. Options include major purchases of stock market linked funds or other assets riskier than Japanese government bonds, the insiders told Reuters. The kiwi was trading at 84.25 yen at 8am from 83.87 yen yesterday

The kiwi advanced to 60.35 euro cents from 60.24 cents yesterday and edged up to 49.94 British pence from 49.90 pence yesterday. The trade-weighted index increased to 77.01 from 76.93 yesterday.

(BusinessDesk)