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SYDNEY: The Australian dollar got a much-needed lift on Thursday after a resoundingly strong set of jobs data reinforced market wagers on an early rise in interest rates, keeping short-term bond yields up at three-month highs.

The Aussie rose 0.3% to $0.7234 and away from a $0.7170 low hit early in the week. The next stops are resistance at $0.7277 and $0.7314.

The New Zealand dollar lagged at $0.6766, in part because the Aussie jumped to a six-month top on the kiwi at NZ$1.0687.

The gains were underpinned by news China had cut lending rates for corporate and household loans, while lowering a mortgage reference rate for the first time in nearly two years.

China is Australia’s single biggest export market and any policy change that is seen supporting demand there is viewed as positive for the Aussie. At home, data showed a solid 66,800 rise in jobs in December, pushing the unemployment rate down to its lowest since mid-2008 at 4.2%.

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