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Higher $A knocking on door of US80 cents


The Australian dollar is fractionally shy of 80 US cents, with the US dollar weakening ovenight amid fears of a possible federal government shutdown.

At 0635 AEDT on Friday, the Australian dollar was worth 79.96 US cents, up from 79.70 US cents on Thursday.

The US dollar fell on Thursday as traders piled into the euro, yen, sterling and other major currencies amid concerns over a possible US government shutdown as lawmakers struggle to cobble together a federal budget deal.

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If an agreement to fund government operations, even a temporary one, is not reached by the Friday (US time) deadline, it could compound an already-negative climate for the greenback, analysts say.

At 10.53 am (0253 Friday AEDT), the dollar index was down 0.36 per cent at 90.590.

Westpac's Imre Speizer says the US dollar was also hurt by US data misses.

"(T)he USD index shed most of yesterday's gains, down 0.4 per cent in offshore hours," he said in a morning note.

"(The) AUD and NZD both regained their poise from earlier pullbacks in Asia, (the) AUD advancing back above US80c (+0.4 per cent in offshore hours).

"Earlier strong Australian jobs data and decent China fourth quarter gross domestic product (was) sustaining upbeat AUD sentiment."

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He said there was no real event risk on the horizon for the local currency on Friday, and it could breach the 80 US cent mark.

"(The) AUD continues to trade on the front foot, retesting US80c overnight and should continue to attract dip buyers."

The Aussie dollar is also higher against the yen and hardly changed against the euro.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 0635 AEDT ON FRIDAY

One Australian dollar buys:

* 79.96 US cents, from 79.70 on Thursday

* 88.80 Japanese yen, from 88.58 yen

* 65.33 euro cents, from 65.31 euro cents

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEDT previous local session)