- The Australian dollar traded slightly higher on Thursday ahead of employment data closely followed by the central bank.

AUD/USD traded at 0.8994, up 0.07%, ahead of the data release.

Earlier in the Asian session, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Thursday raised the official cash rate by 25 basis points to 2.75% in a widely expected decision that still gave the currency a jolt upwards.

NZD/USD traded at 0.8512, down 0.13%, in Asian trade.

USD/JPY traded nearly flat at 102.74, down 0.03%, ahead of a fairly light data day.

In Japan, the ministry of finance releases of weekly international transactions in securities and January machinery orders at 0850 Tokyo (2350 GMT). The forecast for private-sector core orders is for a gain of 7% month-on-month.

Then at 1100 in Sydney (0000 GMT), Australia''s March MI annual inflation expectations are due followed by the February labor force survey 30 minutes later (0030 GMT). Employment is expected to rise 18,000 in February while the jobless rate is expected to stay unchanged at 6.0% and the particpation rate at 64.5%.

China then releases February industrial output (seen up 9.5% year-on year), retail sales (a 13.5% year-on-year gain expected) and investment data (seen up 19.4% year-on-year) at 1330 in Beijing (0530 GMT).

Beijing uses the first two months of the year together in order to smooth out distortions created by the Chinese New Year holiday.

The Bank of Korea announce its rate stance 1000 local time (0100 GMT) and the Bank Indonesia is also set to review rates with an announcement expected around 1000 GMT.

Overnight, the dollar edged lower against most major currencies after an ECB official''s comments downplaying deflationary pressures sparked demand for the euro, while Ukraine concerns boosted gold prices, which came at the dollar''s expense.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.03% at 79.72.

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