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AAP

2013-01-10

The Australian dollar has jumped to its highest level in more than two weeks following a stronger-than-expected rise in Chinese exports and imports.

At 1700 AEDT on Thursday, the Australian dollar was trading at 105.49 US cents, up from 105.08 US cents on Wednesday.

Commonwealth Bank currency strategist Joseph Capurso said the Australian dollar surged early in the afternoon following the release of official Chinese trade figures.

The figures showed Chinese exports rose 14.1 per cent in December from a year earlier while imports increased six per cent, leaving a trade surplus of $US31.6 billion.

"Given China is Australia's largest trading partner that was very supportive of the Aussie dollar," Mr Capurso said.

"You saw the Aussie shoot up about half a cent," he said.

The Australian dollar rallied to 105.56 US cents, its highest level since December 18, following the release of the Chinese figures.

Mr Capurso said the Australian dollar was likely to hold onto is gains during the US and European sessions tonight.

He said it was likely to be a quiet night of trading and did not expect meetings of the European Central Bank and Bank of England to have much impact on the market.

"I don't think its going to be too much of a busy night tonight," he said.

Meanwhile, the currency also hit a fresh four-and-a-half-year high against the Japanese yen.

At 1700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was at 92.96 Japanese yen, just shy of its earlier high of 93.065 yen and up from 91.93 yen on Wednesday.

It was trading at 80.87 euro cents, up from 80.30 euro cents on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Australian bond futures prices moved lower on the Chinese data.

Westpac interest rate strategist Tim Jung said the figures boosted demand for higher risk assets like the Aussie dollar and shares and caused a selloff in bonds.

At 1630 AEDT on Thursday, the March 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 96.570 (implying a yield of 3.430 per cent), down from 96.620 (3.380 per cent) on Wednesday afternoon.

The March three-year bond futures contract was at 97.160 (2.840 per cent), down from 97.220 (2.780 per cent).

Evan Schwarten