The Australian manufacturing sector expanded in December for the first time since a contraction that lasted for six consecutive months, driven by gains in basic metals, transport and publishing.

The manufacturing index expanded in December to 50.2, compared with the prior month's reading of 47.8 in November.

It worth mentioning, that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut down its benchmark interest rate by a 25 points to reach 4.25%on December the sixth, to help in sustaining the economy against Europe's ongoing sovereign debt crisis.

Finally, the AUD reached its highest level of $1.1081 on July 27, which is considered the highest level since it was floated in 1983, yet the currency dropped by 0.7% in December, the fourth decline in the past five months.