Australian Dollar extends gains after upbeat Chinese Trade data amid a muted US Dollar


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  • Australian Dollar appreciates on weaker US Dollar despite improved US Treasury yields.
  • Australian Trade Balance (MoM) increased to 11,027M in February, slightly below the expected 11,500M.
  • Chinese Trade Balance USD increased to $125.16B in February, against the expected $103.7B and $75.34B prior.
  • Fed Chair Powell indicated that the central bank is prepared to lower borrowing costs “at some point this year.”
  • February’s US ADP Employment Change increased to 140K from 111K prior, falling short of the expected 150K.

The Australian Dollar (AUD) continues to advance for a second consecutive session on Thursday, largely driven by weakness in the US dollar (USD). This weakness stems from comments made by Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell during his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. Powell indicated that the Fed is prepared to lower borrowing costs “at some point this year,” following the delivery of the semi-annual Monetary Policy Report. However, the recent escalation of the regional banking crisis in the United States (US) could potentially prompt Powell to expedite this process.

Australia’s economy expanded less than expected in the fourth quarter, as shown by the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data released on Wednesday. Moreover, the Trade Balance showed that the surplus fell short than expected. These outcomes limit the gains for the AUD/USD pair and support the case for the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to adopt an easing bias. Furthermore, The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has reaffirmed its forecast of 75 basis points in rate cuts for this year following the release of the disappointing GDP figures.

The US Dollar Index (DXY) experienced a decline driven by lower US Treasury yields. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated that the US economy is not on the verge of a recession and anticipates inflation to gradually approach the 2% target. Powell emphasized the Fed’s commitment to data-driven decisions, stating that interest rates would only be reduced when there is convincing evidence. Further insights from Powell are anticipated during his remarks on Thursday.

Daily Digest Market Movers: Australian Dollar appreciates on improved risk appetite

  • Australian Trade Balance (MoM) showed that the surplus increased to 11,027M in February, from 10,743M prior. The market expectation was an increase to 11,500M.
  • Aussie Imports (MoM) increased by 1.3% in February, from the previous figure of 4.8%. Monthly Exports grew by 1.6%, exceeding the previous rise of 1.5%.
  • Australian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.2% QoQ in the fourth quarter of 2023, slightly below market expectations of no change at 0.3%.
  • GDP (YoY) expanded by 1.5%, surpassing the expected 1.4%, but falling short of the previous growth of 2.1%.
  • AiG Industry Index reported a print of -14.9 for January, compared to the -27.3 prior.
  • Judo Bank Services PMI surged to a ten-month high of 53.1 in February. This increase pushed the index above the 50.0 threshold, indicating expansion, and surpassed the previous reading of 49.1.
  • Australian Current Account Balance rose to 11.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023, against the expected 5.6 billion and 1.3 billion prior.
  • Commerzbank economists anticipate that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will delay rate cuts, providing support for the Australian Dollar (AUD) in the interim. They do not foresee an imminent slowdown in the Australian economy. However, if clear indications of a slowdown emerge, possibly signaling a recession, the RBA may adjust its monetary policy stance sooner.
  • Chinese Trade Balance USD increased to $125.16B against the expected $103.7B for February and $75.34B prior. Imports and Exports (YoY) rose by 3.5% and 7.1%, respectively.
  • Former New York Fed economist Steven Friedman noted that Federal Reserve policymakers are likely to remain cautious about cutting interest rates this year due to strong growth and volatile inflation. He expected the possibility of fewer than the three cuts anticipated for 2024.
  • Atlanta Federal Reserve (Fed) President Raphael Bostic made headlines on Monday, expressing uncertainty about achieving a soft landing. He does not foresee consecutive rate cuts when they commence but expects two 25-basis point rate cuts in 2024. While inflation is expected to return to the 2% target, Bostic believes it is premature to declare victory.
  • According to the CME FedWatch Tool, there is a 5.0% probability of a 25 basis points rate cut in March, while the likelihood of cuts in May and June stands at 19.3% and 55.8%, respectively.
  • February’s US ADP Employment Change came in at 140K against the expected 150K, increasing from 111K prior.
  • January’s US JOLTS Job Openings fell to 8.863M from December’s figure of 9.026M, falling short of the market expectation of 8.900M.
  • ISM Services PMI declined to 52.6 in February, against the forecasted downtick to 53.0 from 53.4.
  • Factory Orders (MoM) decreased by 3.6% in January, exceeding the expected fall of 2.9%.
  • S&P Global Composite PMI (Feb) increased to 52.5 from the previous reading of 51.4.
  • US ISM Manufacturing PMI (Feb) dropped to 47.8 from 49.1, surprisingly missing the market expectation 49.5.

Technical Analysis: Australian Dollar rises to near 0.6570 before a psychological barrier

The Australian Dollar trades around 0.6570 on Thursday. Key resistance is noted near the psychological level of 0.6600, aligned with the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level of 0.6606. A break above the latter could support the AUD/USD pair to explore the region around the major level of 0.6650. On the downside, the pair meet the major support at 0.6550 followed by the 21-day Exponential Moving Average (EMA) at 0.6539. A break below this level could prompt the AUD/USD pair to test the psychological level of 0.6500 before the previous week’s low at 0.6486.

AUD/USD: Daily Chart

(The story was corrected at 03:20 GMT on March 7 to say “Australian Trade Balance (MoM) increased to 11,027M in February” instead of “reduced to 11,027M” in the second bullet point and second paragraph).

Australian Dollar price this week

The table below shows the percentage change of Australian Dollar (AUD) against listed major currencies this week. Australian Dollar was the strongest against the US Dollar.

  USD EUR GBP CAD AUD JPY NZD CHF
USD   -0.56% -0.61% -0.35% -0.89% -1.07% -0.71% -0.25%
EUR 0.55%   -0.05% 0.21% -0.33% -0.52% -0.15% 0.31%
GBP 0.61% 0.06%   0.25% -0.28% -0.45% -0.10% 0.36%
CAD 0.35% -0.20% -0.25%   -0.53% -0.73% -0.36% 0.10%
AUD 0.88% 0.33% 0.28% 0.55%   -0.19% 0.18% 0.64%
JPY 1.06% 0.51% 0.42% 0.69% 0.17%   0.34% 0.81%
NZD 0.70% 0.15% 0.11% 0.36% -0.17% -0.36%   0.47%
CHF 0.24% -0.31% -0.37% -0.10% -0.64% -0.83% -0.46%  

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).

 

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