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Australia, NZ dlrs Range-Bound ahead of Fed Meeting

SYDNEY, June 15 (Reuters) - The Aussie and kiwi dollars traded in tight ranges ahead of a much-anticipated Federal Reserve meeting, after Reserve Bank of Australia minutes briefly weighed on the Aussie dollar earlier in the day.

Investors are keeping a close eye on the Fed’s two-day meeting this week for any clues that the U.S. central bank could signal an eventual change to its monetary policy outlook.

The Australian dollar was 0.05% higher at $0.7714. It fell to $0.7696 after the RBA released the minutes from its latest monetary policy meeting.

The RBA signalled its willingness to extend its bond purchase programme next month, according to the minutes, which also showed members discussed tapering and even ceasing its massive quantitative easing campaign when the current A$100 billion ($77 billion) round expires in September.

The Australian currency has stayed within its $0.7646/$0.7891 range since April 15. Traders are also watching a speech by RBA Governor Philip Lowe on Thursday.

“Scaling back the amount purchased or spreading it over a longer period (and thus reducing weekly purchases) at this stage would lead to a stronger AUD and thus a tightening of financial conditions,” said David Plank, head of Australian economics at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

“As such we think the choice for the RBA comes down to repeating the program again or keeping weekly purchases at A$5 billion a week but without specifying a total.”

The New Zealand dollar was trading 0.21% higher at $0.7158, having earlier come near support levels of $0.7116 that have not been touched since mid-April. Resistance stands around $0.7315.

Traders are also keeping an eye on New Zealand’s gross domestic product data due to be released on Thursday.

“The NZ economy is expected to remain buoyant over the remainder of this year,” Westpac strategists said. The Sydney-based bank expects to see the kiwi rising to $0.76 by the end of the year.

Bond markets were also little changed, with Australia’s 10-year yields one basis point higher at 1.45%, while the equivalent New Zealand bond yield traded two basis points higher at 1.66%.

($1 = 1.2967 Australian dollars)

(Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

Source: Reuters

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