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SYDNEY, Nov 19 AAP

November 19 2012, 5:17PM

The Australian dollar has closed higher after hitting fresh highs against the Japanese yen during local trading.

At 1700 AEDT on Monday, the currency was trading at 103.67 US cents, up from Friday's close of 103.21 US cents.

During the day, the currency moved between a low of 103.48 US cents and a high of 103.79 US cents, according to IRESS data.

The Australian dollar began the trading week on a positive note, having opened firmer at 103.40 US cents at 0700 AEDT.

The currency extended gains against the US dollar in morning trade amid a positive day on equity markets, climbing to 103.61 US cents by noon AEDT and managing to hold on to those gains during the afternoon.

A senior currency analyst at financial markets research group Forecast, Lee Wai Tuck, said the Australian dollar rose to 84.48 against the Japanese yen, a seven-month high during the local session.

"That has helped support general Australian dollar sentiment," Mr Lee said from Singapore.

Mr Lee said currency markets were trading in quiet conditions ahead of some key events in the period ahead, including the release of the minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) November board meeting on Tuesday.

RBA governor Glenn Stevens was also scheduled to deliver a speech later on Tuesday.

There were also ongoing negotiations between the White House and the Republican leadership in the US Congress over the "fiscal cliff" that the market was focused on, Mr Lee said.

"You are coming into the last six weeks of the year, so that is adding to the reduction in liquidity as well," Mr Lee said.

The fiscal cliff refers to a looming US budget deadline over a series of tax measures and government spending cuts which were due to hit in early calendar 2013.

The measures were expected to act as a big drag on US economic growth and have a significant knock-on impact on the global economy, should they come into effect.

During Monday night's (AEDT) offshore session, US existing home sales figures for October and a housing market report for November were due for release.