Australian dollar down

The Australian dollar has fallen Thursday, buying 69.33 US cents from 69.46 US cents on Wednesday.

Yesterday, the local currency edged lower in very quiet trade as the Sino-US trade dispute showed every sign of dragging on, and domestic economic news generally disappointed.

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he was holding up a trade deal with China and had no interest in moving ahead unless Beijing agrees to four or five “major points” which he did not specify.

The Aussie slipped a shade to 69.48 US cents on Wednesday and away from Monday’s peak at 70.25 US cents.

The Aussie found a little support from a fresh jump in prices for iron ore, the country’s biggest export earner.

A mix of tightening supplies and robust Chinese demand lifted Dalian iron ore futures to record highs.

The September contract at 778.5 yuan was equal to a lucrative A$162 a tonne for Aussie miners.

The news at home was not so promising with Westpac’s measure of consumer confidence easing 0.6 per cent in June amid concerns about the economic outlook.

The lack of response to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s cut in interest rates last week just reinforced excitations of further easing and futures imply an 88 per cent chance of a move by August.

Australian government bond futures inched higher, with the three-year bond contract up half a tick at 98.945.

The 10-year contract firmed one tick to 98.5450.

“Spending on durables has been trending sideways since late 2018,” said Satish Ranchhod, a senior economist at Westpac.

“This likely reflects the softening in the housing market over the past year.”

“With lingering softness in the housing market to date, we expect to see only moderate growth in retail spending over the coming months.”

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