The Australian dollar was weaker Monday amid rising concerns about the strength of the Chinese economy and its financial system, while strong U.S. employment data Friday gave the U.S. dollar a boost in Asia.
At 0530 GMT, the Australian dollar was trading at US$0.9040 compared with US$0.9085 Friday. The risk-off mood gathered momentum as Asian stocks weakened. Shanghai and Hong Kong led the fall, as weak trade data from China over the weekend weighed on regional sentiment.
Chinese exports sank 18.1% from a year earlier in February, much weaker than the 5% increase that was expected by economists, and following a healthy 10.6% expansion in January. Although the sharp drop raised concerns over Asia’s largest economy, distortions due to the long Lunar New Year holidays could have contributed to the surprise fall.