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MARKET REPORT

Kicking off markets for the week, as Asia takes a holiday today &ndash; and ahead of the US Thanksgiving break on Thursday &ndash; the dollar in New Zealand dropped and Australia&rsquo;s changed little after both posted their first weekly decline in November so far, as stock market losses hit demand for higher-yielding assets.<br /><br />Both the NZ and Australian dollar slumped last week, but demand for Australia&rsquo;s currency was boosted by speculation that its central bank would put up interest rates for a record third month when it meets on 1 December.<br /><br />New Zealand&rsquo;s dollar slumped 0.2 per cent to 72.26 US cents as of 12:32pm in Wellington, from 72.42 in New York last week, when it slid 2.6 per cent. It bought 64.25 yen from 64.36.<br /><br />The currency in Australia weakened 0.1 to 91.38 US cents, and traded at 81.33 yen from 81.29 yen.<br /><br />The Australian dollar could fall to 90.88 cents, while the currency in New Zealand may decline to 71.85 cents, Alex Sinton, a senior dealer at ANZ National Bank, said.<br /><br />Commonwealth Bank vice president of institutional banking and markets Tim Kelleher said the Australian currency had finished weaker last week after sharp movements in the US dollar during the offshore session.<br /><br />&ldquo;The overriding thing is probably a risk factor again but we did see some strange goings on with the US dollar on Friday night as well,&rdquo; Kelleher said from Auckland.<br /><br />He added that the Australian dollar has been a &ldquo;particularly strong performer&rdquo; over the past three or four months. It has climbed 45 per cent in the past year, and is the best-performing major currency against the US dollar. Investors have been attracted to the South Pacific as interest rates are higher: Australia&rsquo;s are 3.5 per cent and New Zealand&rsquo;s are 2.5 per cent.