Aust dollar higher in late trade

The Australian dollar is slightly higher ahead of the release of US jobs figures, despite a small dip on disappointing local retail data.

At 1700 AEDT on Friday, the local currency was trading at 71.82 US cents, up from 71.72 US cents on Thursday.

RBC Capital Markets senior economist Su-Lin Ong says the local unit had improved against the greenback all week, despite a negative reaction to to the release of disappointing retail trade data for December.

December retail sales were flat compared to November, breaking a run of four straight monthly rises.

“It was pretty soft today, and retail sales probably gave it the kick down,” Ms Ong told AAP.

The release of US non-farm payroll data on Friday (US time) will impact the local currency going into next week, she said.

At 1700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was at 83.92 Japanese yen, down from 84.60 yen on Thursday, and at 64.19 euro cents, down from 64.70 euro cents.

Bonds firmed slightly, but most investors were sitting tight ahead of the release of the US payroll data.

At 1630 AEDT on Friday, the March 2016 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 97.445 (implying a yield of 2.555 per cent), up from 97.430 (2.570 per cent) on Thursday.

The March 2016 three-year bond futures contract was at 98.170 (1.830 per cent), up from 98.160 (1.840 per cent) on Thursday.

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