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Aussie dollar, banks climb in wake of employment figures

The Australian dollar was pushing toward the $0.80 mark and banks Down Under were rallying on Thursday following data that showed the national unemployment rate unchanged in June at 5.6 per cent.

The currency rose as much as 0.5 per cent on the day to $0.7989.

Kate Hickie, Australia and New Zealand economist at Capital Economics, said it was “particularly encouraging that the recent run of decent full-time job creation continued in June with 62,000 full-time jobs created,” adding that, “All told, there is clearly plenty of momentum in the labour market.”

Yield on Australia’s 10-year government bond rose as much as 6 basis points at 2.779 per cent, the highest level in four months following the release of employment data.

Australian equities were undaunted by the currency’s climb as the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.4 per cent. Bank stocks were up 1.4 per cent as sentiment on the sector continued to improve following Wednesday’s news that incoming capital requirements would be less stringent than expected.

Elsewhere in Asia Pacific markets, Tokyo’s Topix climbed 0.6 per cent as IT stocks notched a 0.9 per cent rise. Electronics manufacturer TDK rose as much as 5.8 per cent to ¥8,070 after UBS raised its target price for the company on Wednesday to ¥9,600.

In Hong Kong the Hang Seng index was up 0.3 per cent, with coal-based energy company China Shenhua Energy up 1.9 per cent as demand for power in China bolstered the country’s coal miners. Thursday’s gains brought its shares to HK$19.02, their highest level in more than three and a half years.