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NZ dollar hits three-year high, Aussie buoyant

WELLINGTON/SYDNEY (June 27): The New Zealand dollar rose to a three-year high on Friday, benefiting from a broad chase for higher yields, while its Australian peer was a bit more circumspect ahead of its 2014 peak.

Robust demand for better returns in a low global interest rate environment was evident in the debt market with Australian bonds resuming their rally. That drove the 10-year yield to a fresh one-year low at 3.549 percent.

The kiwi traded at $0.8773 after peaking at $0.8795, a high not seen since early August 2011.

The currency has been outperforming its major peers thanks to the higher returns it offers and the prospect of a further rise in rates from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand next month.

That has set the scene for the kiwi to head towards the post-float high of $0.8842.

"Broad U.S. dollar weakness coupled with our relatively high interest rates in a low volatility environment help maintain the upward momentum," said ASB Bank's Chris Tennent-Brown in a note.

Near term support is seen at $0.8730, with $0.8800 the first hurdle higher.

On a trade-weighted basis, the kiwi hit a post-float high of 81.71 before stepping back slightly.

Against its Australian peer, the kiwi edged back from a seven-week high of NZ$1.0701 per AUD to NZ$1.0733.

The Aussie was a shade firmer against the greenback at $0.9421, but still unable to break above its 2014 peak at $0.9461.

"The Australian dollar remains uninspired by a lack of major fundamental economic data and hesitation from traders near a key technical level," said David de Ferranti, analyst at FXCM in Sydney.

"Next week the Aussie will be looking to the Reserve Bank of Australia's statement for guidance."

The RBA holds its monthly policy meeting on July 1 and is widely expected to keep its cash rate at a record low 2.5 percent. In minutes of its June meeting, the central bank sounded a bit more dovish than markets had expected.

"Traders likely need to see a more hawkish stance from the Reserve Bank to afford the currency further gains," de Ferranti added.

New Zealand government bonds traded with a firmer tone sending yields as much as three basis points lower.

Australian 10-year government bond futures rose 5.5 ticks to a one-year high of 96.455. The three-year put on 3 ticks to 97.320, matching a 10-month high set on Thursday.

Australia's 10-year cash yield spread over U.S. Treasuries remained close to 100 basis points, the tightest since August 2013.

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