Australian Dollar depreciates on softer Aussie Consumer Prices, stronger US Dollar

  • Australian Dollar extends its losses following the softer-than-expected Aussie CPI.
  • Australia’s Monthly Consumer Price Index (YoY) rose by 3.4%, slightly below the expected 3.5%.
  • US Dollar gains ground on risk aversion ahead of Personal Consumption Expenditures.

The Australian Dollar (AUD) extends its losses for the second successive session on Wednesday. The AUD/USD pair experiences losses following softer-than-expected Aussie consumer prices, potentially prompting the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to consider a dovish stance on the interest rate trajectory. This outlook is exerting downward pressure on the AUD.

Australia’s Monthly Consumer Price Index (YoY) rose by 3.4% in February, consistent with previous levels but slightly below the anticipated 3.5%. Still, the latest reading pointed to the lowest since November 2021. The AUD has faced downward pressure following the release of Westpac Consumer Confidence on Tuesday, which dipped 1.8% to 84.4 in March 2024 from February’s 86.0, easing from 20-month highs.

The US Dollar Index (DXY) saw its second consecutive day of gains amid a risk-off sentiment, driven by anticipation surrounding the upcoming release of US Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) scheduled for Friday. However, the decline in US Treasury yields may be attributed to the expectations surrounding the US Federal Reserve (Fed) regarding potential rate cuts. This sentiment could limit the advances of the US Dollar.

Daily Digest Market Movers: Australian Dollar depreciates on softer consumer prices

  • Australia’s Westpac Leading Index (MoM) increased by 0.1% in February, against the previous decline of 0.09%.
  • Australia’s government has pledged to support a minimum wage increase aligned with inflation this year, recognizing the ongoing challenges low-income families face amid rising living costs.
  • According to a Bloomberg survey of economists, the consensus expectation is for the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to implement two additional Reserve Requirement Ratio (RRR) cuts in 2024, amounting to a total reduction of 50 basis points.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to meet with US business leaders. This meeting serves as a follow-up to his November dinner with US investors in San Francisco.
  • Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic expressed his expectation for just one rate cut this year, cautioning that reducing rates prematurely could lead to greater disruption.
  • Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee aligns with the majority of the board, anticipating three cuts. However, Goolsbee mentioned the necessity for further evidence indicating a decrease in inflation before proceeding with rate cuts.
  • US Durable Goods Orders increased by 1.4% in February, against the 1.3% expected and previous decline of 6.9%.
  • US Durable Goods Orders ex Defense rose by 2.2% in February, compared to the expected 1.1% and 7.9% previous decline.
  • US Housing Price Index (MoM) decreased by 0.1% in January, against the December’s increase of 0.1%.

Technical Analysis: Australian Dollar falls to near 0.6520, next support at March’s low

The Australian Dollar trades near 0.6520 on Wednesday. A notable support level is positioned at the psychological mark of 0.6500, followed by March’s low at 0.6477. If the AUD/USD pair breaks below this level, it could test the major support of the 0.6450 level. On the upside, immediate resistance may be encountered around the 23.6% Fibonacci retracement level of 0.6541. This area is aligned with the major barrier of 0.6550 and the 21-day Exponential Moving Average (EMA) at 0.6553.

AUD/USD: Daily Chart

Australian Dollar price today

The table below shows the percentage change of Australian Dollar (AUD) against listed major currencies today. Australian Dollar was the weakest against the Swiss Franc.

  USD EUR GBP CAD AUD JPY NZD CHF
USD   0.02% 0.08% 0.08% 0.21% 0.10% 0.17% -0.01%
EUR -0.03%   0.04% 0.07% 0.18% 0.12% 0.15% -0.03%
GBP -0.10% -0.08%   -0.01% 0.13% 0.08% 0.08% -0.11%
CAD -0.08% -0.06% 0.01%   0.12% 0.06% 0.10% -0.10%
AUD -0.22% -0.20% -0.14% -0.14%   -0.13% -0.06% -0.23%
JPY -0.10% -0.08% -0.02% -0.02% 0.10%   0.01% -0.16%
NZD -0.17% -0.15% -0.12% -0.09% 0.03% -0.01%   -0.19%
CHF 0.01% 0.03% 0.09% 0.09% 0.23% 0.09% 0.18%  

The heat map shows percentage changes of major currencies against each other. The base currency is picked from the left column, while the quote currency is picked from the top row. For example, if you pick the Euro from the left column and move along the horizontal line to the Japanese Yen, the percentage change displayed in the box will represent EUR (base)/JPY (quote).

RBA FAQs

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) sets interest rates and manages monetary policy for Australia. Decisions are made by a board of governors at 11 meetings a year and ad hoc emergency meetings as required. The RBA’s primary mandate is to maintain price stability, which means an inflation rate of 2-3%, but also “..to contribute to the stability of the currency, full employment, and the economic prosperity and welfare of the Australian people.” Its main tool for achieving this is by raising or lowering interest rates. Relatively high interest rates will strengthen the Australian Dollar (AUD) and vice versa. Other RBA tools include quantitative easing and tightening.

While inflation had always traditionally been thought of as a negative factor for currencies since it lowers the value of money in general, the opposite has actually been the case in modern times with the relaxation of cross-border capital controls. Moderately higher inflation now tends to lead central banks to put up their interest rates, which in turn has the effect of attracting more capital inflows from global investors seeking a lucrative place to keep their money. This increases demand for the local currency, which in the case of Australia is the Aussie Dollar.

Macroeconomic data gauges the health of an economy and can have an impact on the value of its currency. Investors prefer to invest their capital in economies that are safe and growing rather than precarious and shrinking. Greater capital inflows increase the aggregate demand and value of the domestic currency. Classic indicators, such as GDP, Manufacturing and Services PMIs, employment, and consumer sentiment surveys can influence AUD. A strong economy may encourage the Reserve Bank of Australia to put up interest rates, also supporting AUD.

Quantitative Easing (QE) is a tool used in extreme situations when lowering interest rates is not enough to restore the flow of credit in the economy. QE is the process by which the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) prints Australian Dollars (AUD) for the purpose of buying assets – usually government or corporate bonds – from financial institutions, thereby providing them with much-needed liquidity. QE usually results in a weaker AUD.

Quantitative tightening (QT) is the reverse of QE. It is undertaken after QE when an economic recovery is underway and inflation starts rising. Whilst in QE the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) purchases government and corporate bonds from financial institutions to provide them with liquidity, in QT the RBA stops buying more assets, and stops reinvesting the principal maturing on the bonds it already holds. It would be positive (or bullish) for the Australian Dollar.

 

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