$A lower on N Korean threats
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SYDNEY, Jan 24 AAP
January 25 2013, 5:40PM
The Australian dollar has dropped to its lowest level in more than three weeks after North Korea threatened to conduct another nuclear test.
At 1700 AEDT on Friday, the Australian dollar was trading at 104.49 US cents, down from 105.14 US cents on Thursday afternoon.
The currency traded as low as 104.39 US cents on Friday, its lowest point since January 1.
Commonwealth Bank currency strategist Joseph Capurso said the currency fell overnight on Thursday after North Korea announced plans to carry out another nuclear test.
"A lot of the move we saw late yesterday and overnight, we think is related to North Korean issues," he said.
"That has pulled down most Asian currencies and, because of the very high correlation between Asian currencies and the Aussie dollar, it has pulled the Aussie dollar down as well."
Mr Capurso said the Australian dollar traded in a narrow range during Friday's local session, following the fall.
He said the currency's movements next week would be driven primarily by events in the US, including a meeting of the Federal Reserve and the release of economic and employment figures.
"I suppose the risk is those events disappoint and that will probably give the Aussie dollar a bit of a boost and push the US dollar down a bit," he said.
At 1700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was trading at 94.62 Japanese yen, up from 93.93 yen on Thursday and at 78.17 euro cents, down from 78.99 euro cents.
Meanwhile, Australian bond futures prices are lower following a quiet day of trading.
Local bond futures followed US Treasuries lower on Thursday night but UBS interest rate strategist Matthew Johnson said they traded in a narrow range during Friday's local session.
"It hasn't done much, it has been a very quiet day," he said.
At 1630 on Friday, the March 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 96.705 (implying a yield of 3.295 per cent), down from Thursday's close of 96.750 (3.250 per cent).
The March three-year bond futures contract was at 97.290 (implying a yield of 2.710 per cent), down from 97.330 (2.670 per cent).
By Evan Schwarten