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Australian Dollar Advances As Asian Stock Markets Trade Higher

The Australian dollar strengthened against other major currencies in the Asian session on Tuesday, as Asian stock markets traded higher following the mostly positive cues overnight from Wall Street.

Investors are awaiting the start of the U.S. corporate earnings season and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's semi-annual testimony before Congress later in the week. The testimony will be closely scrutinized for clues about when the Fed will again raise interest rates.

Crude oil delivery for August is currently up by 0.11 percent or $44.51 per barrel. The crude oil prices rose as traders bet significant recent losses were overdone in the aftermath of last week's U.S. stockpiles drawdown.

There are some indications that U.S. production has slowed after robust output earlier in the year. The U.S. rig count fell slightly two weeks ago, and inventories at the Cushing facilities have dwindled from record highs.

On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the total number of home loans in Australia gained a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent on month in May, standing at 54,061. That missed forecasts for 1.5 percent following the 1.9 percent decline in April.

The latest survey from the National Australia Bank revealed that business confidence in Australia saw a marginal improvement in June, with an index score of +9. That's up from +8 in May, and it moves further into positive territory and the realm of optimism.

Monday, the Australian dollar showed mixed trading against its major rivals. While the aussie rose against the yen and the NZ dollar, it held steady against the U.S. dollar, the euro and the Canadian dollar.

In the Asian trading, the Australian dollar rose to nearly a 4-month high of 87.13 against the yen and a 5-day high of 1.4949 against the euro, from yesterday's closing quotes of 86.74 and 1.4984, respectively. If the aussie extends its uptrend, it is likely to find resistance around 88.00 against the yen and 1.47 against the euro.

Against the U.S. and the Canadian dollars, the aussie advanced to 4-day highs of 0.7621 and 0.9829 from yesterday's closing quotes of 0.7607 and 0.9804, respectively. The aussie may test resistance near 0.78 against the greenback and 1.00 against the loonie.

The aussie climbed to a 1-week high of 1.0537 against the NZ dollar, from yesterday's closing value of 1.0454. On the upside, 1.06 is seen as the next resistance level for the aussie.

Looking ahead, Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane is expected to participate in a panel discussion at the 'Essentials of Numeracy' launch event, in London at 6:00 am ET.

At 7:00 am ET, Bank of England Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent is expected to speak at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, in Aberdeen, Scotland.

At 8:00 am ET, European Central Bank Board member Benoit Coeure gives opening remarks at the FX Contact Group meeting in Frankfurt.

In the New York session, U.S. NFIB small business index, Canada housing starts and U.S. wholesale inventories, all for June, are slated for release.

At 12:20 pm ET, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari will participate in a Town Hall question-and-answer session moderated by Bremer Bank CEO Jeanne Crain in Minneapolis.

At 12:30 pm ET, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard is expected to speak about normalizing central banks' balance sheets at a conference jointly sponsored by Columbia University and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

by RTT Staff Writer

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