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Australian dollar propped up by strong China data; NZ$ range bound

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The Australian dollar won a small reprieve on Friday as solid Chinese trade data lifted it above a six-month trough, while its New Zealand cousin traded within recent ranges.

[SYDNEY] The Australian dollar won a small reprieve on Friday as solid Chinese trade data lifted it above a six-month trough, while its New Zealand cousin traded within recent ranges.

The Aussie, a liquid proxy for China plays, steadied at US$0.7513 after two straight days of losses that took it to a low of US$0.7501.

China's November imports blew past all expectations with annual gains of 17.7 per cent, reflecting strong appetite for industrial commodities such as iron ore and coal which are big export earners for Australia.

For the week, the Aussie was still down 1.4 per cent after cracking major chart support at US$0.7530.

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It has ended lower in 10 out of the last 15 weeks, largely because of its shrinking yield advantage versus the US dollar. The greenback has recently had a boost from expectations of corporate tax cuts in Inited States.

Traders now await the US nonfarm payrolls report which is expected to show 200,000 new jobs were created in November, according to a Reuters poll.

"The bearish trend for the Aussie remains intact and the bearish momentum which drove us to 6-month lows this week seems to fancy its chances of a break below 75 cents," said Matt Simpson, Singapore-based senior analyst at Faraday Research.

"With nonfarm payrolls being today's main event, it could be the deciding factor to which side of 75 cents we close this week," he added. "It seems it would take quite a disastrous print to help the Aussie recover meaningfully."

Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand dollar held at US$0.6835, slightly above this year's low of US$0.6818.

It has been trapped in a narrow range of US$0.6823 to US$0.6913 since the end of November.

The currency came under further pressure this week, in part after dairy giant Fonterra slashed its farmgate milk payout as global prices fell. Dairy is New Zealand's biggest goods export.

The kiwi is down 0.7 per cent so far for the week, following two straight weekly gains.

Australian government bond futures eased, with the three-year bond contract down 2.5 ticks at 98.030. The 10-year contract slipped 1.5 ticks to 97.4550.

REUTERS

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