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Australia, NZ dollars consolidate, lot riding on China data

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The Australian and New Zealand dollars were underpinned on Monday as wagers a US-led strike on Syria would prove a one-off event gave a modest fillip to risk sentiment.

[SYDNEY] The Australian and New Zealand dollars were underpinned on Monday as wagers a US-led strike on Syria would prove a one-off event gave a modest fillip to risk sentiment.

The Australian dollar inched up 0.1 per cent to US$0.7776, consolidating sizable gains made last week.

It briefly touched a three-week top at US$0.7810 on Friday, a line that now marks stiff chart resistance, while immediate support lies at US$0.7740.

Sentiment was supported by expectations data from China due on Tuesday would show the world's second biggest economy grew by at least 6.7 per cent in the first quarter.

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Market voices on:

"This will support commodity prices and Australia's terms of trade," said CBA senior currency strategist Elias Haddad, who is tipping growth of 6.8 per cent.

He was also upbeat on the Australian economy predicting jobs figures due Thursday would show a solid rise of 25,000, marking seventeen consecutive months of increases.

"AUD/USD still needs to sustain a break above its 200-day moving average around $0.7816 to gain upside momentum," he added.

The New Zealand dollar started the week little changed at US$0.7358, having recoiled from a US$0.7395 peak on Friday.

"The latest bout of geopolitical tensions should limit the topside in kiwi for now," said ANZ economists in a research note.

"However, with it becoming clear that we are entering a softer global growth environment, on top of the lift in volatility we have already seen, we are still of the view that it is becoming a harder environment for cyclical currencies, like NZD."

An auction for global dairy held early on Wednesday morning could show prices for New Zealand's main export earner edging down as supply improves.

Meanwhile, economists largely expect consumer price data due out on Thursday to show inflation headed to the bottom of the central bank's target range of one to 3 per cent in the first quarter.

Such a subdued outcome would only reinforce market pricing for no rate hikes this year, and well into 2019.

New Zealand government bonds eased, sending yields 1.5 basis points higher towards the long end of the curve.

Australian government bond futures dipped, with the three-year bond contract off one tick at 97.770. The 10-year contract lost half a tick to 97.2500.

REUTERS