FOREX-Aussie dollar edges up after China GDP meets expectations
* China GDP slows to 7.5 pct in Q2, matches expectations
* Aussie dollar hits intraday high after the Chinese data
* Market had been worried about downside risk to China GDP
SINGAPORE, July 15 (Reuters) - The Australian dollar clawed higher on Monday after China's second-quarter economic growth matched market expectations, easing worries that the world's second-largest economy could be slowing faster than expected.
The Aussie dollar touched an intraday high of $0.9110 after the release of China's second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data, and last stood at $0.9097, up 0.5 percent from late U.S. trade on Friday.
"The Australian dollar rose since there had been fears that the number might come in lower. But at the same time, the data wasn't spectacularly good either," said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) in Singapore.
China's annual economic growth slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013 from 7.7 percent - the second straight quarter of slower growth, official data showed on Monday.
Other Chinese economic indicators released along with the GDP were mixed, with retail sales exceeding expectations but industrial output and fixed-asset investment coming in below market forecasts.
Trade figures last week had shown an unexpected fall in Chinese exports for the first time in 17 months and raised market concerns GDP could be weaker than expected.
The unease over China had taken a heavy toll on the Australian dollar on Friday, briefly knocking it under 90 U.S. cents for the first time since September 2010. Not only is China Australia's biggest export market but the Aussie is often sold as a liquid proxy to hedge any weakness there.
Still, the Australian dollar probably won't fall sharply below $0.9000 in the near term, said SMBC's Okagawa, adding that Australia's AAA sovereign rating and still relatively high interest rates are supportive factors.
Elsewhere, the U.S. dollar eased 0.1 percent against a basket of major currencies to 82.939, staying below a three-year high of 84.753 set last Tuesday.
The euro held steady at about $1.3069 and the dollar was little changed versus the yen at 99.29 yen.
Trading volumes were likely to be subdued over the course of
the day, with Japanese financial markets closed on Monday for a national holiday.
Much of the market is bullish on the dollar over the long-term, because the U.S. Federal Reserve is seen likely to be the first among major central banks to step away from ultra-loose monetary policy.
The value of net long positions in the U.S. dollar rose to $27.94 billion in the week ended July 9, doubling in value since late June, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.