December 27, 2017 / 2:30 AM / 3 months ago

Australia, NZ dollars hit 2-month peaks in light holiday trade

SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, Dec 27 (Reuters) - The Australian dollar rose to two-month highs on Wednesday led by higher prices for metals and oil while its New Zealand cousin was slightly weaker in a holiday-shortened week.

Australian’s commodity-driven currency nudged up to $0.7734, a level not seen since late October.

The Aussie has been on an uptrend in the past of couple of weeks and is seen ending the year about 7 percent higher after losses in each of the past four years.

Trade was light across the board as many market participants were on holiday.

Wednesday’s gains came as U.S. crude touched $60 a barrel overnight after fighters blew up a pipeline pumping crude oil to the port of Es Sider.

Australia is a major exporter of natural gas, metals and iron ore, so higher prices for these commodities boost national income.

However, the Aussie’s rally was limited as oil gave back some of its gains early Wednesday with Brent crude at $66.63 a barrel. U.S. crude was off 30 cents at $59.67 a barrel after going as high as $60.01, a peak not seen since mid-2015.

Gold was weaker too, but still holding near its highest since early December while copper surged to $7,210 a tonne, a level last visited around mid-2014.

The New Zealand dollar was last down 0.1 percent at $0.7033, following four straight sessions of gains.

The kiwi was still near a more than two-month peak, pushed higher by data last week that showed New Zealand’s economic growth blew past expectations in the third quarter.

New Zealand’s gross domestic product rose 0.6 percent in the three-months ended September with annual expansion at a healthy 2.7 percent.

The kiwi is seen ending the year barely changed, matching the previous year’s performance.

Australian government bond futures eased, with the three-year bond contract down 1.5 ticks at 97.790. The 10-year contract slipped 1 tick to 97.250. (Reporting by Swati Pandey and Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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