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Aust dollar lower at noon

The Australian dollar was lower at noon, as weaker-than-expected Chinese economic growth sent the currency tumbling below 105 US cents.

At 1200 AEST, the Australian dollar was at 104.61 US cents, down from Friday's local close of 105.46 US cents.

The Chinese economy grew at 7.7 per cent in the year to March, lower that economists' forecasts of an eight per cent.

It was also slower than the 7.9 per cent growth in the year to February.

In further negative news from China, industrial production grew at a slower-than-expected 8.9 per cent, while the rate of fixed asset investment was also lower than forecast.

After a quiet morning where the Australian dollar traded in a narrow range, the disappointing figures from China sent the local currency back below 105 US cents to its intraday low.

"It just raises the question of whether the recovery or pick-up in economic activity that we saw in the Chinese economy is sustainable," OzForex chief currency strategist Jim Vrondas said.

"With the Aussie perched above 105 US cents and near the top of recent ranges, the market might have gotten itself a little bit long in Aussie dollars in recent times and there was an unwinding of those positions."

On a more positive note, Chinese retail sales rose 12.6 per cent in the year to March - roughly in line with expectations.

Mr Vrondas said the Australian dollar could be subject to further selling pressure in Europe later on Monday (AEST).

"From 104.50 US cents, which is where we are now, there could be a little bit more downside to come this afternoon," Mr Vrondas said.

Meanwhile, the Australian bond market was firmer at noon.

At 1200 AEST on Monday, the June 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 96.750, (implying a yield of 3.250 per cent), up from Friday's close of 96.700 (3.300 per cent).

The June three-year bond futures contract was at 97.290 (2.710 per cent), up from 97.220 (2.780 per cent) previously.