Australia shares edge higher after RBA comments

Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:23pm EST

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SYDNEY, Feb 22 - Australian shares rose 0.4 percent early on Friday, with investors buying back after a decline in the previous session, as upbeat comments from the central bank governor offset concerns about the U.S. and euro zone economies.

Glenn Stevens, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, said on Friday in a parliament hearing that Australia's inflation outlook provided scope to ease further if needed and that the economy would have a seamless transition from the mining boom peak.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 20.1 points to 5,000.2 by 2315 GMT. The index fell 2.3 percent on Thursday, its biggest one-day percentage fall since May on worries the United States could stop or cut its monetary stimulus programme.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index edged up 0.1 percent, or 6 points to 4,176.4 in early trade. (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang and Thuy Ong; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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