By Mantik Kusjanto and Cecile Lefort
WELLINGTON/SYDNEY, Oct 5 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars found a tentative footing on Friday, following a recent steep decline, with markets cautious ahead of key U.S. jobs data due out later in the session.
The local currency crept up to $1.0265, from $1.0240 in early trade, moving some distance away from a one-month trough of $1.0182 hit on Thursday.
Investors are closely watching monthly U.S. payrolls data due at 1230 GMT after recent data suggested the economy was picking up traction again.
Jobs likely increased by 113,000 in September but the jobless rate could have ticked up slightly to 8.2 percent.
"If the number beats expectations, markets will buy risk," summarises a trader at a European bank in Singapore, seeing the Aussie climbing to a high of $1.0300/20.
But should the reading disappoint, he added, the Aussie will suffer.
"We won't see a collapse but the pressure will be for a move lower," he said.
He forecasts a period of consolidation followed by an attempt to break the September low of $1.0165, a level that has proved very resilient.
The Aussie was still on track to post a fall of more than 1 percent this week after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut its cash rate by 25 basis points to a three-year low of 3.25 percent and left the door open to more easing.
Interbank futures pricing shows a 62 percent chance of a 25 basis point-cut next month with OIS markets showing 83 basis points worth of easing over the next 12 months.
The Aussie also came under pressure following subdued retail sales data at home, adding to ongoing concerns from falling commodity prices and global growth worries.
Charts indicate more downside with the 200-day moving average standing at $1.0346, a fair way above the Aussie's current level.
For now, the Antipodeans were taking advantage of improving risk appetite after the European Central Bank said it was ready to buy bonds of troubled euro zone members.
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR
The New Zealand dollar edged up 0.4 percent to $0.8240 from $0.8211 in late local trade on Thursday, as traders squared positions ahead of the U.S. long weekend.
The kiwi fell 0.7 percent this week, but looked set to remain in a tight range between $0.8200 and $0.8250 for now.
"The market is taking a bit of a breather ahead of some data," said Tim Kelleher, head of institutional FX sales at ASB Bank. "There is a chance of some volatility next week."
He said some profit-taking in the kiwi against the Aussie continued after its recent outperformance. The Aussie held last around NZ$1.2453 , having hit a one year low of NZ$1.2361 earlier this week following the RBA move.
The euro held hefty gains and hovered near three-month highs against the Aussie at A$1.2677. The common currency looked set to show a jump of 2.3 percent for the week, the largest such gain since February.
The euro last fetched NZ$1.5785 , having risen to NZ$1.5894, its highest since Sept. 18.
The Antipodeans were steady against the yen after the Bank of Japan kept monetary policy unchanged and held off from additional easing measures.
Key New Zealand data next week includes a quarterly survey of business confidence and government accounts for the 12 months to June.
New Zealand government bonds extended earlier softness, sending yields 1 basis point higher.
Australian government bond futures gave back gains made early in the week. The three-year contract slipped 0.06 points to 97.620, having touched 97.750, its highest since late July. The 10-year contract eased 0.07 points to 97.050, from 97.190.
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