Australia plays down reports of Chinese coal ban

Australia plays down reports of Chinese coal ban

Spread-betters expect Frankfurt's DAX and Paris's CAC open up half a percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, and see London's FTSE basically flat. Earlier in the session, the Forex pair had dropped to.7086, or about 1 percent lower.

The Australian dollar fell as much as 1.1 percent, the most in two weeks, to around 0.7086 on Thursday after the Reuters report. Brent crude futures were up 0.13 percent to $67.17.

That saw the Aussie rise to the day's high of $0.7117, ending 0.4 percent higher on the day. According to MUFG, the data "challenged the view that the US economy will continue to hold up relatively well while overseas economies are displaying more acute weakness". Demand for the greenback has ebbed on optimism that a fresh round of talks between China and the United States would help resolve their trade conflict.

Mr Frydenberg said: "We can see these occasional interruptions to the smooth flow but that doesn't necessarily translate to some of the consequences that aspects of the media might seek to leap to".

Trump said on Tuesday that trade negotiations were going well and suggested he was open to pushing off the deadline to complete negotiations, saying March 1 was not a "magical" date.

Australian beef and wine exporters a year ago blamed politics when their products were held up at Chinese ports, after then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull implicitly criticized Chinese meddling in Australian politics and universities.

"Overall, the durable goods data provide further reason to think that economic growth will soon slow to below its 2 percent potential pace, which will keep the Fed on hold throughout this year", said Andrew Hunter, senior USA economist, at Capital Economics in London.

"The dollar drew some lift as the minutes appeared to have appeased market participants who were clinging to views that the Fed would hike rates one more time this year - but all in all, the minutes were in line with what the Fed said in January", said Daisuke Karakama, chief market economist at Mizuho Bank.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar was in the spotlight after Australia added more full-time employment in January as expected.

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BHP was down 0.42% in Sydney trading, while New Hope Corporation lost 3.55% and Yancoal was off 2.8%.

The dollar, measured against a basket of currencies, held steady at 96.501.

Reuters reported China's northern Dalian ports had banned imports of Australian coal and would cap overall imports for 2019 through its harbors at 12 million tonnes, with Australian miners the only ones to suffer from the import cuts.

Shares in Asia were buoyed by a late rally in Chinese shares, with the main blue-chip index of Chinese shares rising 2.2 percent.

The euro held steady at United States dollars 1.1341.

Released overnight, a report from Commonwealth Bank of Australia showed that both manufacturing and services Purchasing Managers' Indices fell this month.

At 06:14 GMT, the AUD/USD is trading.7097, up 0.0008 or +0.12%.

"This is not the first time that on occasion, local ports make decisions about these matters".

US crude rose 0.37 percent to $57.17 per barrel and Brent was last at $67.00, down 0.1 percent on the day. Oil prices were also helped by output cuts from top producers and USA sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

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