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$A holds steady ahead of RBA rate call

The Australian dollar is treading water as markets await the Reserve Bank's board meeting, where interest rates are expected to remain on hold.

At 0700 AEDT on Tuesday, the local unit was trading at 71.37 US cents, down fractionally from 71.38 cents on Monday.

Nomura rate strategist Andrew Ticehurst says the RBA will be reluctant to use up some of its remaining "ammunition".

"The RBA is uncertain that a rate cut could actually achieve a meaningful result and is not yet convinced that the economy requires more policy support," he said.

But Mr Ticehurst believes the central bank's accompanying statement will be more dovish on Tuesday, and Nomura expects further easing in May.

"Global economic developments have been disappointing over the past few months," Mr Ticehurst said.

He noted that the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have both downgraded growth forecasts.

"(We) think that the RBA's view has softened a little in similar fashion," he said.

And while domestic economic data generally beat expectations through late 2015, they'd turned more mixed of late, he said.

Mr Ticehurst pointed to disappointing retail sales, another dip in business conditions, a second softer labour force report and worryingly weak investment intentions.

Apart from the RBA rate call, there's plenty of risk ahead for the currency on Tuesday, with Chinese and Australian manufacturing figures and local building approvals data, Westpac economists said.

"Technically, the downside remains vulnerable, (with) 71.10 US cents the near-term target," they said.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 0700 AEDT ON TUESDAY

One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.37 US cents, from 71.38 cents on Monday

* 80.52 Japanese yen, from 80.58 yen

* 65.60 euro cents, from 65.24 euro cents

* 108.36 New Zealand cents, from 108.34 NZ cents

* 51.30 British pence, from 51.43 pence

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

Source: IRESS