$A rallies after interest rate cut
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The Australian dollar is higher after rallying on the back of the central bank's interest rate cut.
At 1700 AEDT on Tuesday, the local unit was trading at 104.38 US cents, up from 104.06 cents on Monday.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on Tuesday said it would cut the cash rate by a quarter of a percentage point to three per cent, taking it to its lowest level since October 2009 during the global financial crisis.
In a statement accompanying the decision, RBA governor Glenn Stevens said global growth was expected to be below average because of the European debt crisis and the looming US fiscal cliff.
"Key commodity prices for Australia remain significantly lower than earlier in the year, though trends have been more mixed over the past few months," Mr Stevens said.
Following the RBA's announcement at 1430 AEDT, the Australian dollar hit an intraday high of 104.58 US cents.
Easy Forex currency dealer Anthony Botros said the Australian dollar rallied on the decision because the quarter of a percentage point reduction was fully expected by the market and further interest rate cuts from the RBA looked unlikely.
"They said recent easings of late are starting to work their way through the economy and they foresee that inflation pressure will be contained in the next one to two years," Mr Botros said.
"So the market has taken that on board as though the rate cut we saw in October and in December might be all for the time being."
Mr Botros said all eyes would be on the release of September quarter Australian gross domestic product data, which is expected to be slightly weaker than the previous quarter.
At 1700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was at 85.71 Japanese yen, up from Monday's close of 85.64 yen, and at 79.96 euro cents, up from 79.85 euro cents.
Meanwhile, Australian bond futures prices were lower.
At 1630 AEDT on Tuesday, the December 10-year bond futures contract was at 96.900 (implying a yield of 3.100 per cent), down from 96.935 (3.065 per cent) on Monday.
The December three-year bond futures contract was trading at 97.380 (2.620 per cent), down from 97.420 (2.580 per cent).
Westpac interest rate strategist Tim Jung said high market expectations of a rate cut meant the market didn't react as strongly to the announcement as expected.
"It makes us think that perhaps there were some people out there who were actually looking more for a 50-basis (point) cut."
Bond futures prices fell following the RBA's announcement but recovered slightly throughout the afternoon.
Jason Cadden and Evan Schwarten