The Australian dollar extended strength against its most major counterparts in late Asian deals on Monday, as mixed U.S. jobs data for December raised hopes that the Federal Reserve is likely to remain patient about raising short-term interest rates.
While the U.S. economy added 252,000 jobs in December, marking the strongest year of job growth in 15 years, and unemployment rate falling to over a 6-year low of 5.6 percent, its wage gains remained stubbornly weak.
The Labor Department data on Friday showed that average hourly employee earnings fell by $0.05 to $24.57 in December.
The annual rate of average hourly earnings growth subsequently slowed to 1.7 percent, the slowest rate of growth since October of 2012.
Weaker-than-expected wages inflation sparked speculation that the Federal Reserve would be patient in raising interest rates.
In economic news, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that the total number of home loans in Australia fell a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent on month to 52,079 in November.
That was well shy of forecasts for an increase of 1.7 percent following the downwardly revised 0.2 percent gain in October.
The aussie hit 1.0517 against the NZ dollar, a 6-day high, from last week’s closing quote of 1.0456. Next key resistance for the aussie is seen around the 1.06 zone.
The aussie advanced to near a 2-month high of 1.4364 against the euro before holding steady thereafter. On the upside, the aussie may find resistance around the 1.425 mark. At Friday’s close, the pair was valued at 1.4427.
The aussie extended early gains, approaching near a 4-week high of 0.8254 versus the greenback. Continuation of the aussie’s uptrend may lead it to a resistance around the 0.835 level. The aussie finished Friday’s trading at 0.8198 against the greenback.
After advancing to near a 2-month high of 0.9774 against the Canadian dollar in Asian morning deals, the aussie consolidated shortly thereafter. If the aussie extends rise, 0.985 is possibly seen as its next resistance level. The pair was worth 0.9722 at last week’s close.
Looking ahead, at 12:40 pm ET, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart is due to speak on U.S. economic outlook, in Atlanta.
The European Central Bank governing council member Ewald Nowotny will speak about 2015 monetary policy in Vienna at 1:00 pm ET.