THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR HAS FALLEN AROUND 1 US CENT THAT'S DESPITE A POSITIVE READING FOR CHINESE MANUFACTURING. THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR HAS SLIPPED DOWN BELOW 105 UNITS CENTS THAT'S DOWN TO AROUND A 4 WEEK LOW. THE LOCAL SHAREMARKET IS MAKING SOME REASONABLE HEADWAY DESPITE FALLS IN THE RESOURCES SECTOR. THE ASX 200 HAS FINISHED THE DAY 25 POINTS HIGHER THAT'S UP TO AROUND A 21 MONTH HIGH. AMONG THE BIG MOVERS SHARES IN ATLAS IRON ARE UP AROUND 2/3RDS OF A PERCENT HIGHER THE COMPANY SHIPPED A RECORD AMOUNT OF IRON ORE FROM WA'S PILBARA DURING THE DECEMBER QUARTER. AND SHARES IN THE CLOTHING RETAILER SPECIALTY FASHION GROUP HAVE SURGED 36 PER CENT ON A STRONG PROFIT FORECAST. IN THE REGION THE NIKKEI HAS PUT ON MORE THAN 2 PERCENT, FOLLOWING A LARGE SELL OFF OVER THE LAST WEEK. AND IN COMMODITIES GOLD FUTURES HAVE CLOSED AT THEIR LOWEST LEVEL IN A WEEK, AFTER INVESTORS WERE SPOOKED BY AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE US LABOR MARKET.

OFFICIAL FIGURES SUGGEST THAT AUSTRALIANS ARE TRYING TO STRIKE A BETTER WORK-LIFE BALANCE, BY WORKING FEWER HOURS EACH WEEK. DATA FROM THE ABS SHOWS THAT IN 2012, THE NUMBER OF HOURS WORKED EACH WEEK FELL TO AN AVERAGE OF 32 HOURS. THAT'S THE LOWEST LEVEL IN MORE THAN THREE DECADES. ECONOMISTS SAY SOME EMPLOYERS MAY BE CUTTING BACK ON SHIFTS AS THE ECONOMY SLOWS WORKERS ALSO APPEAR TO BE CHOOSING TO WORK LESS.

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