The Australian dollar edged sharply higher on Thursday morning in Asia after a government report showed that the nation’s unemployment rate declined in November by 0.2 percent to 5.2 percent.
The decline in the unemployment rate matched the forecasts of most economists.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics also reported that the number of employed Australians increased by 54,600 or 0.5 percent from October.
The employment participation rate increased a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent to a record high of 66.1 percent.
The statistics agency said the number of Australians seeking unemployment benefits decreased by 19,500 or 3.0 percent to 627,800.
A rise in most Asian stocks also supported the aussie.
The Australian stock market is trading higher with investors switching over to the buying mode after the previous session’s losses.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 43.1 points or 0.9% at 4,743. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,826, up 34.3 points or 0.7% over its previous close.
The Australian dollar advanced to a 17-day high of 82.78 against the yen around 9:10 pm ET, compared to 82.34 hit late New York Wednesday. The aussie-yen pair is presently worth 82.70 and its next likely resistance level is seen at 83.0.
Japan’s better-than-expected GDP data also increased traders risk appetite.
Japan’s gross domestic product expanded 1.1 percent in the third quarter of 2010 compared to the previous three months, the Cabinet Office said today in its final report. The figure thus beat forecasts for a 1.0 percent increase following the 0.9 percent gain in the preliminary reading.
On an annualized basis, GDP gained 4.5 percent – again beating forecasts for a 4.1 percent gain after showing 3.9 percent in the estimate.
The Australian dollar advanced to a fresh 6-week high of 1.3168 against the New Zealand dollar on Thursday morning in Asia and this may be compared to 1.3110 hit late New York Wednesday. The next upside target for the aussie-kiwi pair is seen around the 1.3190 level.
The New Zealand dollar declined after the nation’s Central Bank said that the chances of hiking the interest rate may not be in the cards in near future as “the pace of economic growth appears to have moderated”
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand left its Official Cash Rate unchanged at 3.00 percent and signaled rates may not be rising as quickly as expected for the coming two years.
The Australian dollar touched a 2-day high of 0.9876 against the greenback around 9:00 pm ET, compared to 0.9798 hit late New York Wednesday. The next upside target for the aussie-buck pair is seen around the 0.9930 level.
The Australian dollar also extended its recent gains versus the Canadian currency and the pair reached a 2-day high of 0.9980 around 9:00 pm ET.
The aussie-loonie pair that was worth 0.9911 at Wednesday’s North American close is currently quoted at 0.9977. On the upside, the aussie may breach resistance above parity in near-term.
The Australian dollar also reached as high as 1.3473 against the euro before leveling off around 7:40 pm ET. The euro-aussie pair that finished Wednesday’s North American deals at 1.3543 is presently quoted at 1.3484.
Looking ahead, Japan is set to release its preliminary machine tool orders data for November at 1:00 am ET.
Final numbers of German CPI for November and French non-farm payrolls data for the third quarter are expected in the European session.
Turning to the U.S., the weekly jobless claims for the week ended December 4 and the wholesale inventories data for October are due out in the North American session.
Canada’s new housing price index for October is also on tap in the New York session.