Aussie Gains to Four-Week High

The Australian dollar rose to a four-week high, reversing earlier declines, after Chinese imports and exports grew at least twice as fast as forecast, easing concern about a slowdown in the Asian economy.

New Zealand’s kiwi also advanced as Asian stocks extended gains to a sixth day, boosting demand for higher-yielding assets. The Aussie earlier weakened after a private report showed consumer confidence declined this month and as traders anticipated a jobs report tomorrow that’s estimated to show the unemployment rate rose to match a level last seen in 2009.

“The China numbers are stronger than expected, both on imports and exports, helping alleviate fears about a slowdown,” in the nation, said Greg Gibbs, a Singapore-based currency strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. “Any pullback at the moment might be used as a buying opportunity. I wouldn’t be prepared to sell it until we got closer to 91.50 to 92.50” U.S. cents, he said, referring to the Aussie.

Australia’s dollar rose 0.2 percent to 90.55 U.S. cents as of 4:49 p.m. in Sydney after touching 90.63, the highest since Jan. 13. It gained 0.1 percent to 92.87 yen. New Zealand’s kiwi climbed 0.3 percent to 83.44 U.S. cents and advanced 0.2 percent to 85.56 yen.

Data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed January exports surged 10.6 percent from a year earlier, compared with the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of a 0.1 percent gain. Imports gained 10 percent, compared a 4 percent estimate. The comparison with year-earlier figures is distorted by the different timing of the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday.

Confidence Weakens

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of stocks rose 1 percent, adding to the 3.7 percent advance of the past five sessions.

A consumer confidence index for Australia dropped 3 percent in February, falling for a third month, a report from Westpac Banking Corp. and the Melbourne Institute released today showed. Australia’s unemployment rate rose to 5.9 percent in January from 5.8 percent the prior month, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey before tomorrow’s release.

Australia’s three-year yield rose two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 3.04 percent. The 10-year rate climbed as high as 4.23 percent, the most since Jan. 16.

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