July 15, 2013 / 6:16 AM / 4 years ago

FOREX-Aussie dlr regains ground after China GDP meets expectations

* China GDP slows to 7.5 pct in Q2, matches expectations

* Aussie dollar rises after the Chinese data

* Market had been worried about downside risk to China GDP

* U.S. retail sales coming up later on Monday

By Masayuki Kitano

SINGAPORE, July 15 (Reuters) - The Australian dollar climbed on Monday after China’s second-quarter economic growth matched market expectations, easing worries that the world’s second-largest economy could be slowing faster than expected.

The data did not have too much effect on other major currencies with both the greenback and euro largely steady in Asian trade.

China’s annual economic growth slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013 from 7.7 percent - the second straight quarter of slower growth.

The number follows data on Wednesday showing an unexpected fall in Chinese exports for the first time in 17 months that had raised concerns GDP could be weaker than expected. That in turn hit the Aussie, with the currency falling on Friday under 90 U.S. cents for the first time since September 2010.

Not only is China Australia’s biggest export market but the Aussie is often sold as a liquid proxy to hedge any weakness there.

After the GDP figures, the Aussie dollar stood 0.6 percent higher at $0.9108, moving away from Friday’s low of $0.8998.

“The Australian dollar rose since there had been fears that the number might come in lower. But at the same time, the data wasn’t spectacularly good either,” said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) in Singapore.

Okagawa said the Australian dollar probably would not fall sharply below $0.9000 in the near term, adding that Australia’s AAA sovereign rating and still relatively high interest rates were supportive factors.

Other Chinese economic indicators released along with the GDP were mixed, with retail sales exceeding expectations but industrial output and fixed-asset investment coming in below market forecasts.

The U.S. dollar eased 0.1 percent against a basket of major currencies to 82.924, staying below a three-year high of 84.753 set last Tuesday. The euro held steady at about $1.3073 .

The dollar was little changed versus the yen at 99.29 yen , with Japanese markets closed on Monday for a national holiday.

Much of the market is bullish on the U.S. dollar over the long-term, because the Federal Reserve is seen likely to be the first among major central banks to step away from ultra-loose monetary policy.

The value of net long positions in the U.S. dollar rose to $27.94 billion in the week ended July 9, doubling in value since late June, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Later on Monday, the dollar could take cues from data on U.S. retail sales.

Another focal point for this week is Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday.

Bernanke had sent the dollar reeling last week when accenting the dovish side of policy, while playing down the strength of recent payrolls data and warning that the Fed would push back if financial markets tightened prematurely.

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