SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) - The New Zealand dollar jumped half a U.S. cent on Thursday as a surprisingly upbeat report on employment reinforced the outlook for steady to higher interest rates, in the process undoing the central bank's best efforts to restrain the currency.
* The kiwi hopped to $0.8455, from an early $0.8405, after data showed 38,000 jobs were created in the first quarter, pushing the jobless rate down to a three-year low of 6.2 percent.
* The bounce recouped losses suffered on Wednesday when RBNZ Governor Graeme Wheeler told a parliamentary committee that the central bank had been selling the currency in a modest attempt to temper its strength.
* While the jobs report is notoriously volatile, its details were strong enough to add to the view that the next move in interest rates would be upwards, albeit not for many months yet. See
* Bill futures slipped while government bond yields rose 4 basis points across the curve.
* The Australian dollar also edged higher in sympathy, to reach $1.0190 from an early $1.0172 and a two-month low of $1.0155 hit on Tuesday.
* Australia also releases jobs data on Thursday and employment is seen rising 12,000 in April, though confidence in that forecast is not high after two months of wild swings. The jobless rate is seen steady at 5.6 pct.
* The Aussie would be vulnerable to a downside surprise given the market is already wagering on another cut in interest rates following the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) easing earlier this week.
* Kiwi resistance seen at $0.8370 with support at $0.8388, its 55-day moving average, and $0.8377, its 100-DMA.
* Aussie support seen at $1.0155 the trough hit earlier this week. A break below that would open the door to $1.0166, a low hit in March, and towards $1.00.
* Australian government bonds slip a touch, with the three-year contract down 0.010 points to 97.490, while the 10-year contract edges down 0.005 points to 96.870.
(Australia and New Zealand bureaux) Keywords: MARKETS AUSTRALIA NEWZEALAND/FOREX
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