The Australian dollar jumped past a crucial chart hurdle on...

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    The Australian dollar jumped past a crucial chart hurdle on Wednesday to a two-month high after data from top trading partner China defied expectations for a slowdown, while the New Zealand dollar tumbled to a 3-1/2 month trough on lukewarm inflation.

    The Aussie AUD=D4 broke above 72 U.S. cents to as high as $0.7206, a level not seen since Feb. 22 after official figures showed China's economy grew at 6.4 percent in the March quarter when analysts had predicted a slowdown to 6.3 percent.

    Separately, China's industrial output grew at the fastest pace since July 2014 as factories ramped up output in anticipation of more business amid government support measures.

    Though analysts cautioned it was too early to call a recovery in China, the solid numbers boost expectations the world's second biggest economy is at least starting to stabilise, which bodes well for global trade amid fears of a slowdown this year.

    "Pretty solid numbers all round and that is good for the Aussie which has finally broken above 72 (cents)," said Rodrigo Catril, Sydney-based senior forex strategist at the National Australia Bank.

    The Aussie is often played as a liquid proxy for China which is the top buyer of Australian goods including iron ore and coal as well as for tourism and education services.

    "Today's data suggests that policy measures introduced by Chinese officials last year are now bearing fruits... which is building the case that a recovery is on the way in China," he added.

    The Aussie has had a roller coaster weak so far. It hit a low of $0.7140 on Tuesday as traders wagered on a greater probability of a domestic rate cut this year after minutes of the country's central bank's April meeting was read as dovish by many.

    Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand dollar NZD=D4 was last at $0.6731 after going as low as $0.6668 following data that showed inflation had slowed by more than expected in the first quarter, undershooting the central bank's forecasts.

    Markets jumped on the weak result, betting the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) would take the plunge and cut rates from already-record lows of 1.75 percent where they have been since late 2016.

    Overnight index swap rates NZDOIS= showed the market was pricing in a 65 percent chance of a rate cut in May, up from 30 percent before the CPI release while yields on two-year bonds fell 9 basis points to 1.48 percent.

    The kiwi also suffered against its Aussie counterpart, with the pair AUDNZD= now at the highest since early November.

    The lukewarm inflation set fire in New Zealand government bonds 0#NZTSY= with yields down about 6-7 basis points in the short-end of the curve.

    Australian government bond futures were also weaker, with the three-year bond contract YTTc1 down 2 ticks at 98.550. The 10-year contract YTCc1 eased 3 ticks to 98.03.

 
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