Euro slips in London
The Chinese economy grew 8.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012, its slowest pace in nearly three years and below forecasts of 8.3 percent.
Some market players said the Aussie's fall may be temporary, with speculation of another round of quantitative easing (QE) from the US Federal Reserve likely to support riskier assets and higher-yielding currencies.
Talk of easing by the Chinese central bank was also gaining ground, lending some support to growth-linked currencies. But the euro is likely to underperform any rally in riskier assets as fiscal and banking problems in Spain highlight region's troubles and leave the currency vulnerable to any sudden blowouts in peripheral bond yields, analysts said.
Spanish yields have climbed in recent weeks to just below 6 percent on concerns about the country's fiscal position, and Italian yields were also pushed higher on Friday. Having been shut out of markets due to rising borrowing costs, Spain's banks relied heavily on European Central Bank liquidity lines in March and borrowed a record 316.3 billion euros, almost double the amount borrowed in February.
The common currency was last down 0.2 percent on the day versus the dollar at $1.3160, with market players citing selling by an Asian central bank.
Traders said there were stops below its 100-day moving average of $1.3134, with more stops below $1.31. "This (latest data) is starting to put spreads under a little bit of pressure," said Lauren Rosborough, senior currency strategist at Societe Generale.
Rosborough said although market players were aware Spanish banks were leaning heavily on ECB liquidity lines, confirmation of the bad news was a negative for the euro.
Traders reported automated stop-loss euro buy orders above resistance at its 55-day moving average of $1.3207.
The euro could break higher if those stops are triggered but most analysts said any moves would be limited.
The Australian dollar, strongly influenced by China data due to reliance on Chinese demand for its natural resources, fell 0.5 percent to a session low of US $1.0371.
It pared some of those losses to trade last at $1.0409, but it still underperformed the New Zealand dollar, which was up 0.4 percent. Market players reported stop-loss buy orders building around $1.4060-65 in the Australian dollar, above Thursday's high, and some said the Aussie could rebound after the sell-off.
Nomura put out a long Aussie trade recommendation against the dollar, targeting US $1.0800 with a stop at US $1.0200.
The dollar was marginally higher against the yen at around 81 yen, extending gains from Wednesday's six-week low of 80.57 yen.