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Antipodean Currencies Rise As Asian Stock Markets Traded Higher

Antipodean currencies such as the Australian and the New Zealand dollars strengthened against their major counterparts in the Asian session on Friday, as investors continued to be optimistic after the U.S. Federal Reserve maintained its interest rate forecast for this year.

While the Fed raised rates by a quarter point as widely expected on Wednesday, the central bank's projections called for only two more rate hikes this year. The unchanged outlook for rate hikes this year offset concerns that the Fed intends to accelerate the pace of rate increases.

Meanwhile, the crude oil delivery for April is currently up to 0.11 percent or $48.86 per barrel. The crude oil prices rallied amid lingering doubts about OPEC's supply quota plan.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih expressed concern that OPEC members have "a strong willingness" to extend their production-cutting deal when they meet in May. The concern about high global inventories was expressed a day after the U.S. reported its stockpiles declined for the first time this year.

Thursday, the Australian dollar held steady against its major rivals. While the NZ dollar showed mixed trading against its major rivals. The kiwi fell against the euro and the yen, but held steady against the U.S. dollar.

In the Asian trading, the Australian dollar rose to 1.4007 against the euro and 0.7690 against the U.S. dollar from an early 3-day low of 1.4055 and a 2-day low of 0.7664, respectively. If the aussie extends its uptrend, it is likely to find resistance around 1.37 against the euro and 0.77 against the greenback.

Against the yen, the aussie advanced to 87.21 from yesterday's closing value of 86.99. The aussie may test resistance near the 89.00 region.

Against the New Zealand and the Canadian dollars, the aussie edged up to 1.1002 and 1.0239 from yesterday's closing quotes of 1.0988 and 1.0224, respectively. The aussie is likely to find resistance around 1.11 against the kiwi and 1.03 against the loonie.

The NZ dollar rose to 0.6998 against the U.S. dollar and 79.37 against the yen, from yesterday's closing quotes of 0.6986 and 79.15, respectively. If the kiwi extends its uptrend, it is likely to find resistance around 0.72 against the greenback and 81.00 against the yen.

Against the euro, the kiwi advanced to 1.5389 from an early 4-day low of 1.5439. The kiwi may test resistance near the 1.55 region.

Looking ahead, Eurozone trade balance for January is due to be released at 6:00 am ET.

In the New York session, Canada manufacturing sales data for January, U.S. industrial production for February, leading indicator for February, U.S. University of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment index for March, and U.S. Baker Hughes rig count data are slated for release.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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