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Australian employment surprised to the upside with a very surprising drop in the unemployment rate. This was enough to keep AUD/USD away from parity.

Looking deeper at the numbers shows a mixed picture. How long will the Aussie keep up?

The country down under gained 15.5K jobs, while a loss of nearly 5K jobs was expected. This came on top of a small downwards revision to last month’s data: a rise of 37.6K instead of 44K initially reported.

The unemployment rate was an even bigger surprise: a drop from 5.2% to 4.9%. A rise to 5.3% was predicted. This is the lowest rate since April 2011 – a year ago.

All this sounds great, but:

  • Australia gained 26K part time jobs while actually losing 10.5K full time jobs.
  • The participation rate in the workforce dropped to 65.2% from 65.3%. It was forecast to rise to 65.4%.

Both figures cast a shadow over both employment figures.

AUD/USD already touched 1.0020, just 20 pips above parity. The job figures, as well as a higher than expected Chinese trade  surplus  (18.4 billion vs 10 billion expected) sent the pair as high as 1.0123 before sliding under 1.01 once again.

Will it challenge parity once again? A lot depends on a land far away from Australia: Greece. The political mess in the debt struck country weighed on the euro. In addition, Spain’s banking issues also rock the financial system and help the “risk averse” atmosphere.

For more on the Aussie, see the AUD USD forecast.