SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars popped higher on Thursday after strong Chinese trade data boded well for the countries' exports and commodity prices.
* Beijing reported exports jumped 14.1 pct in December, from a year earlier, far outstripping forecasts of a 4 pct increase. Imports were up 6 pct, twice the rise expected.
* China is Australia's top export market and a key driver of prices for commodities such as iron ore. A recovery in China would also lessen the urgency for further cuts in Australian interest rates, pressuring interbank futures.
* Aussie firms a quarter of a cent to $1.0525. It had climbed as far as $1.0536 overnight, its highest since Dec. 18.
* Aussie has struggled to hold above $1.0500, a key resistance level. A break above could see the currency testing $1.0550 where traders cited option related sellers. Charts, however, suggest a possible retracement to $1.0400.
* Kiwi at $0.8394, also near a three-week high of $0.8410 touched on Wednesday. Kiwi underpinned by suspected offshore real-money demand for long-dated New Zealand government bonds.
* Kiwi offers limited initial reaction to data showing a rise in domestic commodity prices. Bids seen around $0.8350 support, while traders say stop-loss orders suspected above $0.8410 could provide near-term resistance.
* Aussie lifted by ongoing strength in prices for iron ore , a major Australian export, which hit a 15-month high this week.
* Antipodeans keep the upper hand against the yen, which has been battered by expectations that Japan will implement more yen-weakening monetary easing to salvage its economy.
* Kiwi scales fresh four-year high around 74.00 yen, while Aussie edges up to 92.72 yen, approaching this week's peak of 92.83, its highest since 2008.
* Both currencies hold near four-week highs touched overnight versus the euro.
* Data out in Australia showed building approvals rose 2.9 pct in Nov, continuing a slow recovery. The series is volatile and has swung wildly in recent months, in part due the timing of some very large apartment towers.
* New Zealand government bonds continue to firm, nudging most yields around 2.5 basis points lower. Yields slipped roughly 5 basis points across the curve on Wednesday, a move seen to be driven by real money demand.
* Australian government bonds slip. The three-year bond contract dipped 0.05 points to 97.170, while the 10-year contract lost 0.035 points to 96.585.
(Australia and New Zealand bureaux) Keywords: MARKETS AUSTRALIA NEWZEALAND/FOREX
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