By Swati Pandey and Charlotte Greenfield
SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The Australian dollar held near six-week highs on Tuesday, as the country's central bank expressed greater confidence about the economic outlook, while the New Zealand dollar hovered around a two-month top.
The Australian dollar traded around $0.7661, not far from Friday's $0.7694 which was the highest since early November.
The Aussie has been on an uptrend since last week, rising in six of the last seven sessions, helped by strong data at home as well as from China, Australia's top trading partner.
Tuesday's minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) December meeting showed policymakers were encouraged by that run of better economic data, although weakness in consumer spending was a "significant risk."
That, along with subdued inflation and scrooge-like wage growth, is why the RBA is widely expected to hold rates at a record low 1.50 percent for a long while yet.
"Strength in the labour market and expected associated spill-over effects is expected to continue, although policy will only be adjusted when it is clear that wage and price pressures return," said Westpac chief economist Bill Evans.
"We retain our view that the overnight cash rate will remain on hold in 2018 and 2019."
The RBA has spent more than seven years now without raising interest rates, the longest spell since the official cash rate was introduced in 1990.