SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The New Zealand dollar rallied on Thursday after the country's central bank sounded a more hawkish note on house prices and borrowing, sending the kiwi up a full cent on its Tasman neighbour.
* For its part, the Australian currency was being pulled all ways, hitting near 13-month lows against a vigorous euro but making four-year highs against the yen.
* The kiwi jumped half a US cent to $0.8363 after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand warned against the risks of a bubble in house prices even while keeping rates steady at a record low of 2.5 pct.
* Short-term support seen around $0.8350, its 55-hourly MA, although some anticipated offers on a climb towards $0.8400 may cap further big gains.
* There is some pretty hawkish-sounding warnings about watching credit growth closely and some financial stability risks from a stronger housing market,' said Ben Jarman, an econmist at JPMorgan.
* 'For currency markets, which seemed to be positioned for a more dovish statement, that was a bit of a surprise. It backs the view that the RBNZ will hike once towards the end of the year, perhaps in the third quarter.'
* NZ interest rate futures dipped after the RBNZ announcement, while government bond yields edged up across the curve.
* A fresh Reuters poll of 17 economists shows the majority favour a rise later this year or early next year, and no change at the next rate review in March.
* That is in line with market pricing, which now implies 19 bps of hikes over the next 12 months, compared with the risk of a cut earlier this month.
* Markets now await a speech by RBNZ Governor Graeme Wheeler on Friday about 'Improving New Zealand's economic performance'.
* Aussie down a cent to NZ$1.2438, closing in on a 3-1/2-month low around A$1.2420 hit earlier this week. Last at NZ$1.2456.
* Yet the euro stole the show after the Federal Reserve's pledge on Wednesday to continue its massive, greenback-negative bond-buying programme. It rallies to 13-month highs against the Aussie at A$1.3045, having risen 1 pct overnight.
* Last at A$1.3013 and on track to post a 2.6 pct increase this month, its largest such gain since September.
* Broad euro strength weighs on the Aussie against its U.S. counterpart to last fetch $1.0424, having lost half a cent on Wednesday. Aussie set to end the month near flat, even as it climbed as far as $1.0600 earlier in January.
* Both Aussie and kiwi hover near four-year highs versus a broadly suffering yen on the view that aggressive monetary easing measures by the Bank of Japan will keep the domestic currency weak. Aussie scaled a fresh high of 95.45 yen on Wednesday to last fetch 94.88.
* Data out in Australia included a 0.4 pct rise in private sector credit vs forecasts for a 0.2 pct increase, and a bigger-than-expected fall in exports prices in Q4.
* Australian government bonds firm, with the three-year contract 0.04 points higher at 97.170, while the 10-year contract up 0.045 points to 96.565.
(Australia and New Zealand bureaux) Keywords: MARKETS AUSTRALIA NEWZEALAND/FOREX
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