The Australian dollar stood near 2-1/2 week highs on Tuesday as the market’s favoured status-quo candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton, appeared more likely to win a close US presidential election. With hours to go before Americans vote, Clinton has about a 90 percent chance of defeating Republican Donald Trump in the race for the White House, according to the final Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project.
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The Australian dollar rose 0.7 percent overnight, its biggest daily percentage gain since Oct 19. It was down 0.4 percent at $0.7693 during early Asian hours on Tuesday.
Global risk sentiment got a boost this week after the FBI cleared Clinton of any possibility of criminal charges in its latest probe over her email usage.
The Aussie has been helped by a sharp rebound in the price of iron ore and coal – Australia’s two biggest exports. The currency has risen in 8 out of the last 10 sessions and is up 5.7 percent so far this year.
Over the past few months, it has failed repeatedly to stay above 77 US cents make that a critical chart barrier. However, analysts say a Clinton win could finally crack it.
“It’s a level where we see quite a lot of supply coming through. At the moment the Aussie is quite an attractive currency specially with what’s going on with bulk and base metals,” said Chris Weston, Melbourne-based chief markets strategist at IG Markets.
“If we do get a Clinton win, I would not be surprised to see Aussie dollar shooting up to 78-79 US cents.”
The Aussie was flat on its New Zealand counterpart while paring gains on safe haven currencies such as the euro and the yen.
The New Zealand dollar inched down to $0.7328, not far from a six-week high of $0.7362 hit the previous day.
The kiwi was likely to tread water until the US election results were tallied, according to analysts.
“Being a trading country, New Zealand is likely to be more adversely affected under Trump than under Clinton, so I’d find it hard to be positive for the kiwi under a decisive Trump victory,” said David Croy, senior rates strategist at ANZ.
New Zealand government bonds eased, sending yields 2 basis points higher at the long end of the curve.
Australian government bond futures were down, with the three-year bond contract off 1 tick at 98.30. The 10-year contract held at 97.6800.