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Australian Dollar Climbs On Better-than-expected Trade Data, House Price Index

In the early Asian session on Tuesday, the Australian dollar firmed against other major currencies after reports showed that the country's trade deficit narrowed in December and house price index for the fourth quarter rose more-than-expected.

Australia saw a merchandise trade deficit of A$427 million in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said today - blowing away expectations for a shortfall of A$800 million following the upwardly revised A$2.788 billion deficit in November.

Exports were up 3.0 percent on month to A$25.381 billion after adding 1.0 percent in the previous month.

Imports dropped 6.0 percent on month to A$25.808 billion after rising 2.0 percent a month earlier.

Another report showed that the average house price in Australia was up 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the previous three months.

That was sharply higher than forecasts for a 0.3 percent increase, which would have been unchanged from the third quarter

An index measuring the service sectors in Australia came in with a score of 45.3 in January, AiG said today.

That marks a strong move to the upside from the 43.2 score in December.

The aussie advanced 0.18 percent to a 6-day high of 1.0460 against the greenback from Monday's close of 1.0441.The next upside target level for the aussie-greenback pair is seen at 1.05.

Against the loonie, the Australian currency that closed Monday's deals at 1.0432 gained to 1.0440, its highest level since January 31. The aussie has resistance around 1.05 level.

The aussie climbed to a 4-day high of 1.2408 against the NZ currency, up 0.19 percent. This may be compared to Monday's closing value of 1.2384. On the upside, the aussie may break 1.25 level.

Against the European single currency, the aussie approached 1.2912 for the first time since January 30. If the aussie extends gain, it may breach 1.285 level. At Monday's close, the pair was quoted at 1.2950.

Recovering from an early 4-day low of 96.00 against the yen, the aussie ticked up. The aussie-yen pair is now trading at 96.60, compared to yesterday's closing value of 96.46.

At 10:30 pm ET, the Reserve Bank of Australia is scheduled to announce its interest rate decision. The bank is forecast to retain interest rates at 3:00 percent.

In the European session, Swiss trade data for December, PMIs from major European economies and Eurozone retail sales for December are due.

At 10:00 am ET, U.S. ISM non-manufacturing composite index for January is scheduled for release.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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