$A higher on business optimism

The Australian dollar is slightly higher following an optimistic business survey.

At 1700 AEDT on Tuesday, the Australian dollar was trading at 104.52 US cents, up from 104.49 US cents on Friday.

Since 0700 AEDT, the local currency traded between 104.06 US cents and 104.54 cents.

CMC Markets foreign exchange dealer Tim Waterer said the Aussie dollar had fallen over the long weekend, following positive news about European debt that put the euro currency in the spotlight.

"The Australian dollar started the session quite precariously and it looked like a dip below 104 (US cents) could be on the cards," he said.

"It appeared to be taking a back seat in the currency market compared to the euro, which is seeing a lot of currency flows based on the improving sentiment there."

This followed an announcement on Friday that the European Central Bank (ECB) could receive up to 137.2 billion euros ($A178.58 billion) in repayment of long-term refinancing operation (LTRO) loans received by the region's banks.

The ECB said 278 banks were set to take part in the repayment.

Mr Waterer said an optimistic survey of Australian businesses had rescued the local currency somewhat on Tuesday.

"The NAB (National Australia Bank) survey made some impact on sentiment, and provided some support for the Aussie dollar," he said.

"It turned what looked like a weak session for the currency, into something with a bit more substance."

NAB's monthly business survey showed business confidence rising 12 points in December to an index level of plus three.

Economists suggested this could be a turning point for the Australian economy, making it less likely the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut the cash rate at its meeting, on February 5.

Mr Waterer said Australian markets would remain focused on events offshore this week, with significant data expected for Chinese manufacturing and US jobs.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9326-0.0001-0.01%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5556+0.0003+0.05%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6753+0.0001+0.01%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg