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Aussie, Kiwi up after China survey, Canadian dollar at five-month high

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[June 23, 2014]  By Patrick Graham

LONDON (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars both jumped about half a percent on Monday after a survey pointed to the first expansion in six months by China's manufacturing, a sector that is crucial to world growth.

The Canadian dollar also reached a five-month high, building on its 0.6 percent gain on Friday. Surprisingly high inflation and robust retail sales made it look less likely the central bank would maintain its accommodative policy stance.

The upbeat HSBC China PMI report offered relief to investors fretting about the health of Australia's biggest export market and a recent slide in iron ore prices. The Aussie rose to as high as $0.9444, near its April 10 peak of $0.9461.

"There has just been a bit of a risk-on play this morning," said Stephen Gallo, head of European currency strategy at Canadian bank BMO in London. "The Aussie, kiwi and Canadian dollar all look wrapped up in that."

Gallo also said "short" bets on a weaker Canadian dollar - a popular trade over the past year - had been squeezed since the inflation numbers last week.
 


"I wouldn't advise going short here yet, but the move in spot does look mainly like the result of positioning and contrary to the long-term drivers for the (Canadian) dollar."

The Canadian dollar was last around C$1.0724 per U.S. dollar, after touching a high of C$1.0717.

PMI DIPS

The euro inched down after flash purchasing manager surveys from both Germany and France came in below expectations. But the trend remained the same - robust growth in Europe's biggest economy and a continuing struggle for some of its neighbors.

The data followed a weekend interview in which European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi laid out the case for sticking with the bank's current program of stimulus. He also said outright quantitative easing could be used if inflation expectations deteriorated in the medium term.

"The PMI surveys say roughly the same thing as Draghi's comments over the weekend: policy will stay very accommodative in Europe for a long time to come," said a dealer with one London bank. "We knew this already, so the reaction on the euro has again been minimal."

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The euro was last down 0.1 percent at $1.3590, close to the day's lows of $1.35865 in Asian trade.

Against the yen, the dollar was just over 0.1 percent weaker at 101.88 yen.

The British pound was firmer, trading at $1.7024, up 0.1 percent from last week, on speculation the Bank of England will raise interest rates before the end of this year. It climbed to a 5 1/2-year high of $1.7064 last Thursday.

Bank of England policymaker David Miles tried to play down those expectations, saying subdued inflation in Britain would enable policymakers to raise interest rates gradually.

Still, many speculators are pouring funds into sterling, searching for a trend in the absence of bigger moves by the euro, dollar and yen. Data from a U.S. financial watchdog showed speculators' long position in the pound futures hit the highest level since late 2007 last week.

(Editing by Larry King)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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