Kiwi first casualty on data-filled day
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Investors took aim at the New Zealand dollar on Thursday on the back of a disappointing jobs report, but held their fire on others ahead of a batch of key data from China and Australia that could make or break risk sentiment.
The kiwi dollar sank to a near one-week low around $0.8111, after the unemployment rate rose unexpectedly to 6.8 percent, confounding expectations for a fall to 6.5 percent.
"This will get the horses running on the idea of the RBNZ cutting rates, but we still think they'll be reluctant to come to the party on that. This is more a case of stay-on-hold for longer, that's the bias we're taking," said Ben Jarman, economist at JPMorgan.
The euro, which came under modest pressure on Wednesday, stood at $1.2370, pulling back from a one-month high around $1.2443 set on Tuesday. It also lost ground against the yen, slipping to 97.00 from this week's peak of 97.82.
Markets are now awaiting the latest reading on China's inflation due around the same time as Australia's employment report at 0130 GMT. That will be followed by Chinese industrial output and retail sales at 0530 GMT.
Traders said risk takers could be reinvigorated if the data soothed persistent jitters of a hard economic landing in the world's second biggest economy.
Hopes that the European Central Bank will act next month to ease painfully high borrowing costs for Spain and Italy and the Federal Reserve will add more stimulus to spur its spluttering recovery have fuelled appetite for riskier assets in the past few sessions.
That is one reason why commodity currencies have fared so well of late. The Australian dollar hit a 4-1/2 month peak of $1.0604, while the Canadian dollar reached a three-month high this week. Both currencies were slightly off those highs on Thursday.
Analysts, though, warned that market optimism will fade if there is no fresh developments in the euro zone soon.
"The longer Spain delays asking for EFSF help, the more the market can think about the conditions that would attached to such help. And the more everyone can worry," said Kit Juckes, strategist at Societe Generale.
With expectations of central bank stimulus riding high, safe-haven currencies like the U.S. dollar and yen have languished. The dollar index was at 82.328, struggling to push off a one-month low of 82.315 plumbed on Tuesday.
Against the yen, the greenback was at 78.43, remaining stuck in a slim 77.90-78.80 range seen since late July.
(Editing by Wayne Cole)
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