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Kiwi holds near 80 Aussie cents as jobs data looms

BUSINESSDESK: The New Zealand dollar held near 80 Australian cents ahead of a report this afternoon that is expected to show unemployment levels across the Tasman rare the highest in three months.

The kiwi rose to 79.77 Australian cents at 8am in Wellington from 79.84 cents yesterday at 5pm and was little changed on 81.69 US cents from 81.64 cents. The trade weighted index was largely unchanged on 72.98 from 73.01.

Australia, New Zealand's largest trading partner, will release its jobless rate later today. A survey of 20 Reuters economist predicts it rose to 5.3% from 5.1%, with the participation rate unchanged at 65%.

"The Australian employment data will hold court on the moves of the New Zealand dollar during this afternoon's trading," says Alex Sinton, senior dealer at ANZ New Zealand. "We aren't going to shoot back up to 80 plus on that cross."

The kiwi is likely to trade in a range of 79.65 Australian cents to 80 cents on the day, he says.

The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its key interest rate by a quarter of a point to 3.25% last week, citing weaker commodity prices in a global market where the outlook for economic growth "has softened".

The September jobs report could "prove crucial" ahead of the RBA's November 6 interest rate decision, Mr Sinton says.

In the US, the world's largest economy, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book business survey based on reports from its 12 district banks says the economy "generally expanded modestly since the last report". Mild improvements were reported in the housing market and vehicle sales.

The food price index for September will be released by Statistics NZ this morning. That is followed by the ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence and Bank of New Zealand performance manufacturing index.

The kiwi was little changed on 51.02 British pence from 51.04 pence last evening and steady at 63.83 yen from 63.90 yen. It fell to 63.33 euro cents from 63.46 cents.

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