SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars beat a hasty retreat on Friday after data showed China's economy grew at its weakest pace in nearly three years in the first quarter, confounding rumours of an upside surprise. China reported GDP growth of 8.1 pct yr/yr in the first quarter, below forecasts of 8.3 pct and way under the rumoured 9 pct that had spread through markets overnight. China is Australia's single biggest export market and developments there tend to affect the Aussie. Still, other data on Chinese retail sales and industrial output beat expectations. The Aussie duly slid to a session low of $1.0390 , from $1.0433 just before the data. Earlier, it reached a high of $1.0452, levels not seen since April 3. The Aussie also lost ground on the yen, retreating to 84.31 from a one-week high of 84.63. Versus the kiwi, it fell to NZ$1.2542 , from a session high of NZ$1.2612 and was back in sight of a six-month trough of NZ$1.2515 set earlier this week. As well, the kiwi eased to $0.8285 , having earlier touched a six-week high around $0.8320. Against the yen, it edged down to 67.14 from a high of 67.48. Both Antipodean currencies had risen on Thursday on market whispers that Chinese growth could surprise on the upside and following robust Chinese loans data. The Aussie was also boosted by surprisingly strong local jobs data on Thursday. Upbeat Singapore GDP data released early on Friday further supported risk appetite, pushing both Antipodeans to session highs. The Aussie is seen capped around $1.0450, today's high and also the bottom of the daily Ichimoku cloud. Support in $1.0350/70 zone. Resistance for the kiwi is seen at $0.8324. Australian debt futures erased early losses, with the three-year contract up 0.04 points at 96.730 and the 10-year contract 0.035 points higher at 96.185. NZ government bond prices were little changed.
(Australia and New Zealand bureaux)
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