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Forex - Australian dollar drops after HSBC China flash PMI weakens

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Shutterstock photo - - The Aussie took a dive in Asia Thursday after a preliminary survey of manufacturing in China fell enough to cause jitters about the top importer of key Australian commodities like iron ore.

The HSBC China August flash manufacturing PMI fell to 50.3, compared to a July figure thaqt came in at 51,7 for the final.

"Both domestic and external new orders rose at slower rates compared to the previous month," said HSBC chief China economist Qu Hongbin.

"Meanwhile, disinflationary pressure returned as input and output prices contracted over the month. Today's data suggest that the economic recovery is still continuing but its momentum has slowed again. Therefore, industrial demand and investment activity growth will likely stay on a relatively subdued path. We think more policy support is needed to help consolidate the recovery. Both monetary and fiscal policy should remain accommodative until there is a more sustained rebound in economic activity."

Later, the Reserve Bank of Australia releases forex transactions for July with the market looking for any hint on whether the RBA intervened during the month.

AUD/USD traded at 0.9246, down 0.44%, after the data, while USD/JPY moved to 103.95, up 0.18%.

Overnight, the dollar traded higher against most major currencies after the Federal Reserve revealed in its July policy meeting minutes that rate hikes could come sooner rather than later if the labor market continues to improve.

The Federal Reserve voted at its July 29-30 meeting to leave benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.00-0.25% and added it would cut its monthly bond-buying program to $25 billion from $35 billion at its July 29-30 meeting.

The Fed said that the overall economy is improving, though slackness remains in the labor market despite growth, which prompted monetary authorities to continue tapering its asset-purchasing program by only $10 billion per policy meeting.

The Fed's stimulus bond-buying program is seen concluding around October, and rate hikes are expected in 2015, though the timing of the latter remains up in the air.

The minutes from that meeting released earlier revealed that while some monetary authorities favored studying more data before deciding, others felt action should come sooner rather than later.

"Many participants noted that if convergence toward the Committee's objectives occurred more quickly than expected, it might become appropriate to begin removing monetary policy accommodation sooner than they currently anticipated," the minutes released earlier Wednesday read.

"Indeed, some participants viewed the actual and expected progress toward the Committee's goals as sufficient to call for a relatively prompt move toward reducing policy accommodation to avoid overshooting the Committee's unemployment and inflation objectives over the medium term," the minutes added.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said that the U.S. economy is improving though monetary authorities continue to note slackness in the labor market, though the minutes revealed some monetary authorities feel that slackness may be absorbed in the near future.

"Many members noted, however, that the characterization of labor market underutilization might have to change before long, particularly if progress in the labor market continued to be faster than anticipated."

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.12% at 82.39.

On Thursday, the U.S. is to produce data on unemployment claims, manufacturing activity and existing home sales.

The first day of the annual economic symposium is due to take place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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