The Australian and New Zealand dollars rose against the yen after a private report showed Chinese manufacturing improved, boosting trade prospects.
The so-called Aussie climbed to a nine-month high against the yen, while the kiwi reached the strongest level since October 2008 versus Japan’s currency on speculation the nation’s elections this weekend will produce a government that will increase pressure on the Bank of Japan (8301) to expand monetary stimulus. Demand for the South Pacific currencies was limited as a standoff in U.S. budget negotiations sapped investor appetite for risk.
The Chinese manufacturing data in December “is a slight improvement from the previous month and it’s continuing to suggest that Chinese growth is stabilizing,” said Janu Chan, an economist at St. George Bank Ltd. in Sydney. “The reaction has been quite muted on the Aussie. What is perhaps offsetting its gain is that financial markets in general are still concerned about the outcome of negotiations in the U.S. in regards to the fiscal cliff.”