The Australian and New Zealand dollars took a breather on Monday after a recent rally to almost five-month highs stalled, with sentiment dented by the pushback from some Federal Reserve officials on imminent rate cuts.

The Aussie was hovering at $0.6695, after meeting heavy resistance at its 4-1/2 month top of $0.6728, a level that it has failed to breach twice in the past two sessions. It has surged more than 7% from its 2023 low of $0.6271 in October and could be subject to some consolidation nearing the year end.

The kiwi dollar was standing at $0.6212, also below its 4-1/2 month high of $0.6249 hit last week. It has climbed 7.7% from its 2023 low of $0.5774 in the space of two months.

The rally was fuelled by a shift in the U.S. interest rate expectations, with markets now reckoning the slowdown in inflation means the Fed will have to ease policy, and wagering on early and aggressive action - about 150 basis points in cuts - next year.

New York Fed President John Williams rained on markets' parade on Friday by saying there was no talk of easing by policymakers. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic also said he only saw just 50 basis points of cuts in 2024.

"John Williams' comments have modestly dampened spirits and may be enough for a short-term reprieve to the bullish flow," said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone.

"As we look at the event risk this week, we see the BoJ meeting, U.S. core PCE inflation and UK CPI as the big-ticket items for traders to navigate."

Looking ahead, The Bank of Japan (BOJ) meets on Tuesday amid much chatter of an exit from negative interest rates, and on the same day, the Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes of the December policy meeting at which it held rates steady.

In New Zealand, central bank governor Adrian Orr is scheduled to appear before parliament on Wednesday. Traders are looking to see if Orr would temper his hawkishness given the economy unexpectedly slipped into decline in the third quarter.

(Reporting by Stella Qiu. Editing by Sam Holmes)