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MORNING BELL: Australia dollar knocked lower by China worries

The Australian dollar fell on Monday amid worries about slowing growth in China - a major trade partner - after a surprise slide in imports of coal, oil and commodities. The Aussie fell as far as $0.7752 from around $0.7802 late in New York on Friday. Data on Sunday showed a near 20 percent tumble in China imports - the sharpest slide since May 2009 - when Chinese factories were still slashing inventories in reaction to the global financial crisis.

The U.S. dollar advanced against major currencies on Friday after data showed solid U.S. jobs growth and a strong rebound in wages in January, bolstering views that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates by mid-year. The U.S. Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls increased by 257,000 last month, beating economists' expectations for a rise of 234,000 jobs according to a Reuters poll. In addition, wages increased 12 cents last month after falling 5 cents in December. That took the year-on-year gain to 2.2 percent, the largest since August, raising expectations the Fed may have less leeway in citing low inflation as a reason to hold off on hiking rates. Meanwhile, gold fell more than 2 percent.

 

 



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