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AAP

2013-01-24

The Australian dollar is lower against a stronger US dollar, despite the release of stronger Chinese manufacturing figures.

At 1700 AEDT on Thursday, the Australian dollar was trading at 105.14 US cents, down from 105.39 cents on Wednesday afternoon.

Easy Forex currency dealer Anthony Botros said the currency weakened on Thursday afternoon, despite news China's manufacturing sector expanded at its fastest pace in two years in January.

HSBC's flash purchasing managers' index (PMI) reached 51.9 for January, released on Thursday, up from a final 51.5 in December.

"Those numbers are very important to us because of our trading relationship with China," he said.

"But nonetheless the Australian dollar has struggled."

Mr Botros said the ongoing strength of the US dollar may have helped push the Australian dollar lower.

"It does look like there is some ongoing US dollar strength, there is a lot of optimism that towards the latter part of 2013 we will see some strong (economic) numbers out of the US," he said.

He said increased expectations the Reserve Bank of Australia would cut the cash rate (currently at three per cent) at its February 5 board meeting may have also weakened demand for the currency.

Futures markets are currently pricing in a 40 per cent chance of an interest rate cut in February.

Mr Botros said the currency could continue moving lower over the next few days, possibly breaking through its recent support level of 104.80 US cents.

At 1700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was trading at 93.93 Japanese yen, up from 93.07 yen on Wednesday and at 78.99 euro cents, down from 79.17 euro cents.

Meanwhile, Australian bond futures prices moved higher on Thursday.

ANZ head of interest rate research Tony Morriss said the release of domestic consumer price index (CPI) figures from Wednesday had been the main driver of the market over the past 24 hours.

"It has retained a firmer tone today from the CPI and global factors, even though the Chinese data was solid," he said.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show consumer prices rose 2.2 per cent in the year to December, below expectations of 2.5 per cent growth.

At 1630 AEDT on Thursday, the March 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 96.750 (implying a yield of 3.250 per cent), up from Wednesday's close of 96.730 (3.270 per cent).

The March three-year bond futures contract was at 97.330 (implying a yield of 2.670 per cent), up from 97.280 (2.720 per cent).

Evan Schwarten