Aussie, kiwi rally to recent peaks as traders bet on rate hikes

SINGAPORE, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars hit multi-month highs on Wednesday and bond yields scaled peaks in both countries as investors wagered surging inflation will hasten rate hikes.

The Australian dollar AUD=D3 rose as much as 0.2% to touch a three-month high of $0.7489, before settling around a resistance level at $0.7480.

The New Zealand dollar NZD=D3 rose 0.3% to a four-month top of $0.7176. Both currencies have bounced hard from one-month lows a few weeks ago and are each up more than 3.5% on the dollar and more than 6.5% on the yen in October so far.

"They were pretty beaten down up until about a week or two ago," said Jason Wong, a strategist at BNZ in Wellington.

"There's a bit of a risk-on mood and, in New Zealand's case the CPI out earlier in the week has just reinforced RBNZ rate hikes and that has driven Aussie rates higher as well as people are looking (for something similar) in Australia."

Monday data showed New Zealand consumer prices rising at decade-high speed and the kiwi has gained 1.4% this week and blasted through its 200-day moving average as rates markets have priced in extra hikes.

New Zealand's 10-year sovereign yield NZ10YT=RR now stands well above pre-pandemic levels and on Wednesday rose 5.5 basis points (bps) to 2.408%, its highest since January 2019.

In Australia, rates markets are beginning to aggressively challenge the Reserve Bank of Australia's intention to hold the cash rate steady until 2024. Swaps have priced in 100 bps of hikes before the end of 2023 and yields are rising. RBAWATCH

Three-year Australian government bond futures YTTc1 steadied at 99.055 after the RBA on Tuesday raised the cost of shorting April 2023 and April 2024 bonds, seen as a signal it intends to keep downward pressure on short-term yields.

Ten-year Australian government bond futures YTCc1 fell as far as 15 ticks to a seven-month low as the yield AU10YT=RR hit a seven-month high of 1.864%.
Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Kim Coghill

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