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Aussie dollar at 7-week low on mixed jobs data, kiwi retreats

Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 11:40
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The Australian dollar hovered near seven-week lows on Thursday after a mixed jobs report failed to inspire bulls, while its New Zealand counterpart struggled after data showed the economy grew a shade slower than expected.

[SYDNEY] The Australian dollar hovered near seven-week lows on Thursday after a mixed jobs report failed to inspire bulls, while its New Zealand counterpart struggled after data showed the economy grew a shade slower than expected.

The Australian dollar eased a touch to US$0.7465, nudging closer to a trough of US$0.7443 touched on Monday. A break under that would take it to the lowest since late July.

The Aussie has shed nearly three cents in a week, with the latest pressure on the currency coming from a surprise loss of 3,900 jobs in Australia in August against forecasts of a rise of 11,500.

Yet, the jobless rate also ticked down to the lowest in three years at 5.6 per cent.

"Australia's economic outlook appears resilient to external shocks, and unless there is significant AUD appreciation, we think the urgency to ease further is negligible," said Rahul Bajoria, an economist at Barclays, seeing interest rates on hold this year.

Debt futures were little changed as the outcome was seen as too mixed to alter the prospects of another cut in interest rates.

The market implies around a one-in-three chance of another easing to 1.25 per cent by the year-end.

Meanwhile, the euro rose to its highest since late June at A$1.5088, having leapt six cents in one month, while the Aussie extended losses against a strong yen.

It was down 0.5 per cent to 76.05 yen, having lost 1.6 per cent this week. A sustained break under 75.90 would target the July trough of 74.50.

The New Zealand dollar fell to US$0.7268, after trading as high as US$0.7301 earlier in the morning, following economic growth data.

"Headline GDP was weaker than we expected and slightly softer than the market expected," said ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley in a research note.

Second quarter GDP figures showed quarterly growth was 0.9 per cent and annual growth 3.6 per cent, just under analysts'predictions of 1.1 per cent and 3.7 per cent, respectively.

However, growth still beat the 0.8 per cent the country's central bank had predicted last month, with household consumption, home building and exports all very strong.

New Zealand government bonds gained, sending yields one basis point lower at the long end of the curve.

Australian government bond futures edged down towards three-month lows, with the three-year bond contract off one tick at 98.365.

The 10-year contract slipped 0.75 tick to 97.8725, while the 20-year contract eased half a tick to 97.2800.

REUTERS