By Gyles Beckford and Wayne Cole
WELLINGTON/SYDNEY, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars inched higher on Friday after Singapore's central bank surprised markets by sounding more upbeat on its economy than many had feared, enough to skip a chance to ease policy.
Singapore also managed to dodge a technical recession with upward revisions to growth, which combined to lift the Singapore dollar while knocking the U.S. dollar down across the board.
That helped the Australian dollar Aussie nudge up to $1.0271, from an early low of $1.0247. It hit a 10-day high of $1.0294 on Thursday, a solid recovery from the $1.0149 trough touched early in the week. Chart resistance was put at $1.0325, with support at $1.0240.
The currency has also been supported this week by an 11 percent increase in spot prices for iron ore , Australia's top export commodity.
The New Zealand dollar got a lift as far as $0.8208 before settling at $0.8191, leaving it a shade up for the week. Support was seen well established between $0.8130 and $0.8150, with $0.8220 guarding the topside.
Dealers were already turning their focus to a raft of Chinese economic data due in coming days, starting with trade figures on Saturday and culminating with gross domestic product next Thursday.
Any downside surprise in the numbers would likely hurt the Aussie and Kiwi given how important the Asian giant is as an export market.
Analysts at Commonwealth Bank expect GDP growth to slow a touch to 7.4 percent in the year to September, from 7.6 percent the quarter before.
"A outcome in line with our forecasts would imply that the Chinese economy is past the trough," said Michael Blythe, chief economist at CBA. "But, we have postponed our expectations for a marked acceleration in growth momentum to the first half of next year."
The sluggishness of China is one reason Blythe expects the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will cut rates again in November, taking them back to the global-financial-crisis lows of 3 percent.
Much of the market agrees with him as interbank futures
imply a two-in-three probability of a quarter point cut next month and are fully priced for 3 percent by Xmas.
For New Zealand next week, all eyes will be on inflation figures for the third quarter out on Tuesday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll expect a quarterly rise of 0.6 percent, giving a low annual rate of 1.1 percent.
"The favourable inflation outlook should allow the RBNZ to extend its low interest rate policy until Q3 next year," Citi economists said in a note.
Market pricing implies an 11 percent chance of a cut later this month, with 21 basis points of cuts over the next 12 months. Analysts are picking the next move to be a rise, but not until the second half of 2013.
Other New Zealand data next week includes migration, job advertisements, and dairy giant Fonterra's latest auction.
Having lagged the market on Thursday, the kiwi made up some lost ground on the cross rates, managing gains of around 0.2 percent across the board, with the euro easing to NZ$1.5765 , the Aussie at NZ$1.2524 , and up to 64.19 yen.
New Zealand government bonds closed with a bid tone, with yields closing 2.5 basis points lower across the curve.
Australian government bond futures eased a touch, with the three-year contract down 0.020 points at 97.630. The 10-year contract lost 0.010 points to 97.055.
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