The New Zealand dollar rose to near a 10-week high of 1.2262 against the Australian dollar on Thursday morning in Asia, compared to Wednesday's New York session closing value of 1.2335. Currently, the aussie-kiwi pair is trading near 1.23 with 1.222 seen as the next target level.

In economic news, New Zealand posted a trade deficit of NZ$16.1 billion for the full year ending in December 2008. The deficit amounted to 8.9 percent of GDP. The Statistics NZ said the deficit grew from NZ$15.5 billion for the year to September 2008, which represented 8.6 percent of GDP. The deficit for the full year to December 2007 was NZ$14.4 billion or 8.2 percent of GDP.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for Australia registered a decline of 0.6 percent in January. The Board's Coincident Index increased 0.6 percent for the period. The Leading index now stands at 111.2, with the base of 100 established in 2004. The Coincident Index stands at 13.1.

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