Aust dollar closes flat
Market watch top headlines
The Australian dollar has closed flat after a quiet domestic session, with investors focused on the upcoming release of local and overseas economic data.
The currency was at 105.53 US cents at the end of the local trading day on Wednesday, little changed from 105.48 US cents at Tuesday's close.
During the day, the Australian dollar moved in a tight range between 105.80 US cents and 105.49 US cents.
The unit opened the Australian trading day at 0700 AEDT at 105.61 US cents after moving in line with gains on Wall Street during the overnight offshore session.
However, the currency drifted back towards 105.5 US cents as market players stayed on the sidelines ahead of some important economic data releases both at home and abroad in the days ahead.
"It's very, very quiet," Rochford Capital director of market risk Derek Mumford said.
"The Australian (dollar) has just been drifting around really."
"There is a lot of data out tonight in the United States and big numbers on Friday from China."
Figures on US industrial production, inflation and housing were due for release during Wednesday night's (AEDT) offshore session, with market players also expected to focus on any progress over the US debt ceiling.
Meanwhile, Chinese economic growth, retail sales and industrial production data was due out on Friday.
Moves were also limited ahead of domestic jobs data for December due out on Thursday.
The Japanese yen continued to appreciate, following comments on Tuesday from a Japanese government minister who said a stronger yen was adversely impacting on the livelihoods of the Japanese people.
At 1700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was at 93.03 yen, down 0.9 per cent from 93.87 yen previously, and at 79.41 euro cents, compared with 78.99 euro cents at Tuesday's close.
In terms of local data published on Wednesday, Mr Rochford said the consumer confidence report from Westpac and the Melbourne Institute was in line with expectations, while new car sales figures were strong.
Meanwhile, the Australian bond market closed stronger after big losses on Asian equity markets spurred demand for fixed-income assets.
The March 10-year bond futures contract finished the local session at 96.665 (implying a yield of 3.335 per cent), up from Tuesday's local close of 96.575 (3.425 per cent).
The March three-year bond futures contract was at 97.240 (2.760 per cent), up from 97.190 (2.810 per cent), previously.
Deutsche Bank fixed income strategist David Plank said bond futures prices rose about six basis points during the day.
"The weakness in equities across Asia has supported the market," Mr Plank said.
"It's quite a strong rally."
In afternoon trade, Japan's Nikkei 225 index was down about 2.5 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite has fallen about 1.5 per cent.