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AUD, NZD Spooked by China Worries ahead of Fed Meeting

SYDNEY, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars were on track for their third straight session of losses against the greenback on Monday as worries about China’s economy weighed on risk sentiment and commodity prices, and sent stock prices tumbling.

The Australian dollar was down 0.44% at $0.7227, having touched a 3-1/2-week low at $0.7220, continuing its downward trend from a September peak of $0.7477.

It has fallen for three consecutive sessions as iron ore, Australia’s single biggest export earner, tumbles. Its 2021 trough of $0.7106 is its next significant support level.

The New Zealand dollar was off 0.12% at $0.7026, also its third consecutive day of falls. The kiwi dollar has immediate support in the $0.70/$0.6996 area with resistance sitting tightly around $0.7118.

The commodity-sensitive currencies have been hit as Beijing clamps down on major emitters and cuts output caps for steel makers.

The currencies were also strained by U.S. dollar strength ahead of at least a dozen central bank meetings this week, headlined by the Federal Reserve. Looming default at indebted Chinese developer China Evergrande added to the jitters.

“The USD could rise further post FOMC this week, although locally the RBNZ speech on Tuesday morning could be NZD-positive if it flags a 50 basis point hike to start the cycle in October,” Westpac strategists said in a client note.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to hike rates in October, amid stronger than expected GDP data and decreasing COVID-19 infection numbers in Auckland, its largest city.

New Zealand bond prices were slightly lower on Monday, sending New Zealand yields one to two basis points higher across the curve.

Australian 10-year bond futures were little changed at 98.665, equivalent to a yield of 1.33%. Three-year futures were also little changed at 99.615.

Editing by Stephen Coates

Source: Reuters

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