$A falls below 104 US cents on China data
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The Australian dollar has closed at an almost two-week low on disappointing Chinese manufacturing data.
AT 1700 AEST on Thursday the Australian dollar was trading at 103.74 US cents, down from 104.61 cents on Wednesday.
This was its lowest point since September 11.
NAB currency strategist Ray Attril said the local currency had been weak for much of the Australian trading day and fell below 104 US cents following the release of weak manufacturing numbers from China in the afternoon.
"The Australian dollar has been the worst performing of the major currencies today," he said.
"Probably the main factor has been the HSBC Flash purchasing managers' index (PMI) from China - it was slightly higher, but our sense is that the market was expecting a bigger improvement."
The Flash PMI showed a rise to 47.8 in September, after a weak reading of 47.6 in August - it was the 11th consecutive month below 50, the level showing a contraction.
"Not only was the headline number flat from last month, but in some of the underlying details there doesn't seem to be any bottoming out in the growth rate in China," Mr Attril said.
"That has certainly weighed on our currency."
At 1700 AEST on Thursday, the Australian dollar was at 81.06 Japanese yen, down from 82.76 yen on Wednesday, and 80.06 euro cents, unchanged from Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Australian bond futures prices were higher on weak equity performances in the region.
At 1630 AEST on Thursday, the December 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 96.860 (implying a yield of 3.140 per cent), up from 96.745 (3.255 per cent) on Wednesday.
The December three-year bond futures contract was at 97.120 (2.880 per cent), up from 97.380 (2.620 per cent).
RBC fixed interest strategist Su-Lin Ong said the Australian bond market had been performing strongly on Thursday.
"It's a combination of several factors," she said.
"Equities are generally softer, most of the Asian equities are in the red, and consequently US Treasuries are higher - and Aussie bonds have taken a lead from this."
Ms Ong said the slight improvement in Chinese PMI for September had not dampened the rise in bond prices.
"We got a slight bounce, but given the extent of the drop last month, the tiny increase in September was a bit disappointing," she said.