The New Zealand and Australian dollars traded in fairly narrow ranges today as investors fretted about monetary policy in China.

The consolidation came at the end of a week in which both the Australian and New Zealand central banks left official cash rates unchanged and the local market waited for a government economic and fiscal update next week and growth data on December 23.

The NZ dollar was at US76.05c at 5pm from US74.73c at 8am and US74.90c at 5pm yesterday.

The NZ dollar dropped to around A75.60c early today, within about a 10th of a cent of decade lows reached this year but by 5pm was back trading at A76.05c.

The Australian dollar was at US98.51c at 5pm, from US98.63c at the same time yesterday.

Investors were preoccupied with speculation of a monetary policy tightening in China after newspapers reported China's inflation rate may have accelerated to 5.1 per cent in November ahead of the data's release.

News that Fonterra has raised its payout for the 2010/11 season by 30c to $7.30-$7.40 per kg of milksolids was positive for the economy but it was countered by the relatively downbeat statement from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand yesterday.

Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier said international dairy market prices had generally held up better than initially expected when the company made its opening forecast in May.

By 5pm the NZ dollar was at 62.74 yen from 62.77 yesterday and at 0.5657 euro from 0.5629. The trade weighted index rose to 67.73 from 67.62.

- NZPA