CANBERRA: The Australian dollar remains at a three-month high above US77 cents, despite a mixed reaction to the latest jobs figures. It comes after the local currency soared to a high of US77.32c on Thursday morning, its best level since Donald Trump was elected US president in early November. The currency’s strength is the result of higher commodity prices, an improving risk sentiment among global investors and little move in the US dollar despite the release of encouraging US economic data, AxiTrader chief market strategist Greg McKenna said.
The release of January labour force numbers at 11.30am (AEDT) had the potential to drive the Australian dollar even higher, but the response was mixed, with the currency initially shooting higher before quickly retreating. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 per cent in January, but that was due to a big jump in part-time jobs, as full-time employment fell by almost 45,000. At 2pm (AEDT), the Australian dollar was buying US77.12c, up from US76.67c at the end of local trade on Wednesday. The share market is slightly weaker with a sharp drop by Telstra and falls by the major supermarket owners offsetting gains by the big miners and banks. Telstra shares were down 4.4 per cent after the telco posted a 14 per cent drop in half-year profit to $1.8 billion.