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Aussie & NZ dlrs bounce off multi-month lows - for now

Tuesday, 9 Oct 2012 | 1:17 AM ET

* Aussie off 4-mth lows vs euro & 3-mnth trough vs USD

* RBA sees weakening in Australian labour market

* Job report due out on Thursday looms large

By Gyles Beckford and Cecile Lefort

WELLINGTON/SYDNEY, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars recovered a bit of ground on Tuesday, helped by profit-taking and a bounce in Chinese stocks, though the mood remained fragile on global growth worries and subdued economic data in Australia.

The Aussie gained half a cent to $1.0245, from $1.0196 in early trade, boosted by short-covering following a fall to $1.0149 on Monday, its weakest since mid-July.

Traders cited active participation from model funds who are big buyers on dips.

The New Zealand dollar was testing resistance levels around $0.8230 on fund buying out of Asia and trimming of short positions. It had touched a one-month low of $0.8150.

Near-term support for the New Zealand dollar was seen at the 20-day moving average around $0.8251 ahead of a more solid barrier at $0.8266. Support was found at Monday's low of $0.8150 and below that Sept 10's high of $0.8134.

A recovery in Asian bourses, led by Chinese stocks which bounced 2 percent, and a 6 percent increase in iron ore prices helped lift sentiment.

The Antipodeans also bounced off multi-month lows against the euro, yen, and sterling.

The Antipodeans' gains were capped by concerns over global growth, particularly in China, after the International Monetary Fund said it expects China's economic growth to weaken to 7.8 percent this year.

The Antipodean currencies are highly sensitive to news about China, a key export market.

The Aussie has fallen around 1.4 percent so far this month versus its U.S. counterpart and 2.5 percent against the euro, due in part to a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) last week and the prospect of more easing.

A top Australian central banker said on Tuesday weaker global outlook and a softening in the domestic labour market were the "primary factors" behind last week's easing.

David Scutt, a trader at Arab Bank Australia, said a major test for the Aussie will come on Thursday with the September jobless report.

"Given the RBA comments earlier today if we get a weak unemployment number, it will seal the case for at least a 25 basis point-easing and knock the Aussie a little bit," he said.

A private survey showing Australian business conditions weakened in September as retailers and wholesalers suffered from slack demand, fed the case for further cuts.

Interbank futures pricing implies a 64 percent chance of another quarter of a point cut next month with OIS markets showing nearly 100 basis points worth of easing over the next 12 months.

Charts suggested further downside for the Aussie with daily moving average studies pointing lower. A dealer said only a break above $1.0280 might suggest a stronger recovery under way.

For now, support was found at $1.0150, an Oct 8 low, with traders citing real money investors ready to sell rallies towards $1.0250/80.

A sprinkling of New Zealand data offered a mixed outlook for the economy, with a closely followed think tank's quarterly survey of business confidence improving but still pointing to a slowdown in growth.

A separate partial measure of New Zealand retail sales showed a dip after the previous month's stellar rise, while a government valuation agency's housing report showed prices nudging to a record high amid tight supply.

"Set against this backdrop of some emerging downside risks to an already moderate paced recovery scenario, contained inflationary pressures and an elevated NZ dollar, there appears little need over the year ahead for the RBNZ to alter the current stimulatory level of interest rate settings," said First NZ Capital director of economics and strategy, Chris Green.

New Zealand government bonds closed flat after opening firmness.

Australian government bond futures fell a touch, retreating from two-month peaks touched last week. The three-year contract

edged down 0.010 points to 97.630, as was the 10-year contract at 97.015.

((Australia/New Zealand bureaux)(+61 2 9373 1800/+64 4 802 7980))

Keywords: MARKETS AUSTRALIA NEWZEALAND/FOREX