By Cecile Lefort
SYDNEY, Aug 7 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars struggled to make any headway on Wednesday as a surging yen and a slide in global stocks hit morale in thin trading.
The Aussie was particularly hit on the yen, touching its lowest level this year around 87 yen. It was down 0.8 percent on the day, having climbed as high as 105.43 in April.
Likewise, the New Zealand dollar lost 0.6 percent on the day to 76.71 yen, while the U.S. dollar hit a six-week trough.
Dealers said there was no particular event behind the move other than limited trading due to the summer lull in the Northern hemisphere.
Not helping commodity currencies was a slide in stocks with bourses in Japan, Australia and Korea down more than 1 percent.
As a result of yen strength, the Aussie was dragged to $0.8959 against its U.S. counterpart, from $0.8984 in early trade, having failed twice to sustain a break above 90 cents.
But not everyone was bearish on the Australian dollar.
'I see more upside for the Aussie this week with jobs data and a quarterly monetary policy statement,' said Joseph Capurso, a rate strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Labour data is due on Thursday with forecasts of a 5,000 rise in employment in July. This will be followed the next day by the central bank's economic outlook.
'We expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to increase its inflation forecast which should be Aussie supportive,' said Capurso.
For now, traders cited good selling interest ahead of $0.9010 which was discouraging attempts higher. Support was seen at $0.8925.
The Aussie has gained 0.6 percent so far this week after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on Tuesday disappointed some by not giving a clear signal it could ease again.
The RBA cut its main interest rate to a record low of 2.5 percent as it tries to prepare the economy for life after the mining boom.
Debt futures are still factoring in another cut by year-end.
The New Zealand dollar kept gains versus its U.S. counterpart to trade at $0.7900, having bounced from one-year lows of $0.7670 touched Monday.
The kiwi's resilience is partly due to strong demand at Fonterra's latest dairy auction which sold almost 60 percent more product than the previous session, and the highest amount in more than three years.
The sale countered fears that a botulism scare in recent days tied to some of Fonterra's products might dent demand for dairy, New Zealand's single biggest export earner.
The kiwi was muted to data showing a modest rise in New Zealand's unemployment rate and contained wage pressures. The readings backed expectations of steady interest rates for the rest of the year.
New Zealand government bonds were soft, sending yields 3 basis points higher along the curve.
Australian government bond futures edged up with the three-year bond contract 0.02 point higher at 97.460. The 10-year contract added 0.01 point to 96.290.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam) Keywords: MARKETS AUSTRALIA/FOREX
(Cecile.Lefort@thomsonreuters.com)(+61 2 9373-1234)(Reuters Messaging: email@example.com)
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