SYDNEY, Dec 24 (Reuters) – The Australian and New Zealand dollars crept higher on Thursday amid optimism a Brexit deal might finally be near, and thus one less threat to risk sentiment, although trade was very thin with holidays looming.
The Aussie was a fraction firmer at $0.7579, still off its recent 2-1/2 year peak of $0.7639 but comfortably above chart support around $0.7510 and $0.7463.
The currency is up 3.1% for December so far, and no less than 36% from the trough hit during the market mayhem of mid-March.
The kiwi dollar was firm at $0.7097, having bounced from support at $0.7031 overnight. It is 1.1% higher for the month so far, and up 24% from the March low of $0.5703.
Sentiment was supported by reports Britain and the European Union were close to clinching a trade agreement, raising hopes the estranged allies would avoid a chaotic economic rupture on New Year’s Day.
“This time it really does appear that a deal will be struck just in time for Christmas,” said Westpac economist Tim Riddell.
Confirmation would be positive for risk assets, though he suspected investors would just be relieved it was over.
“The past month of ‘will they, won’t they’ swings and almost constant shifting of supposed deadlines has both exasperated and exhausted market participants,” he said.
The news took a toll on safe haven bonds with Australian 10-year futures falling 6 ticks to 98.9600, implying a yield of 1.04% and back toward a recent low at 98.9200.
Three-year yields remained pinned at 0.115% thanks to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) continued bond buying program, so steepening the yield curve.
There was no domestic economic data out on Thursday and none scheduled until the first week of January.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole; editing by Richard Pullin)