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AUD / USD
0.7210 – 0.7310
The Australian Dollar gathered momentum against the USD yesterday moving from levels of 72c and touching a high of 0.7282 just before the end of the New York session. The biggest jump was during the European session as strong manufacturing data indicated signs of recovery within the global economy. Over in the US, the minutes of the Fed' meeting didn’t provide much more than what we had learned from their statement last month however, it was noted that Fed officials focused on the impact of potential fiscal stimulus and saw more upside risk to economic growth forecasts under the new Trump administration. This morning sees the release of Australia' AIG index which reports on the level of business conditions in Australia, with previous months readings reporting industry expansions.
Great British Pound
GBP / AUD
1.6860 – 1.6980
The Great British Pound recovered some ground on Wednesday, but overall remains weak against the greenback. The Sterling reached an overnight high of 1.2352 following the release of Construction PMI which improved to 54.2 for the month of December, up from 52.8 in November, surpassing the estimate for the December release of 52.6 and climbing to an 11-month high. We now expect support to hold on moves approaching 1.2240 while any upward push will likely meet resistance around 1.2380. The pair is currently trading at 1.2318. Attentions now turn to Thursday' Services PMI data release. The forecast for the December release is 54.8 slightly down from the previous month of 55.2 in November.
USD, EUR, JPY
The U.S Dollar' advance stalled through trade on Wednesday as investors responded to an uptick in Euro Zone price pressures and the FOMC' December meeting minutes. Having touched peaks not seen since 2002 the Greenback met selling pressure and profit taking as the Federal Reserve minutes revealed policy makers, while expecting upside growth through fiscal stimulus, were wary of a heightened USD dragging economic progress. Investors are still seeking fresh clues as to the timing and extent of additional rate hikes through 2017 and yesterday' minutes did little to assuage market curiosities. CME' Fed watch tool shows the market pricing in two rate hikes with a 3<sup>rd</sup> policy adjustment expected by near on 50% of analysts. The USD fell half a percent against the Yen to 117.23 while the Euro bounced off 14 year lows moving back through 1.0450 to touch intraday highs at 1.0496. An unexpected uptick in CPI and Core CPI estimates drove the 19 nation combined unit higher, pushing German Bund yields upward and narrowing the yield advantage enjoyed by US Treasuries. Having met resistance on approach to 1.05 direction today will stem from a raft of U.S macroeconomic indicators headlined by Services data and preliminary Non-farm payroll numbers.
New Zealand Dollar
NZD / USD
0.6920 – 0.7010
The Kiwi traded off intraday lows yesterday of 68.90 US Cents as the local market continued to digest the biggest drop in dairy prices for three months. We saw a 0.6% movement higher in overnight trading as FOMC December minutes were released to the public with uncertainty in the amount of interest rate rises for 2017. The Federal Reserve remarked hikes would be “Gradual” sparking sell offs from 14 year highs on the US Dollar index. The Kiwi has continued its rally where we currently open at highs of 0.6965 against the Greenback.
0.7140 - 0.7240
The Australian Dollar edged higher on Monday during Asian trade after a report showed China' factory activity picked up much quicker than had anticipated. The PMI index rose to 51.9 compared with forecasts of 50.7 showing activity levels have held steady for the past several months. The local unit touched 0.7235 early afternoon before US data releases overnight proved to outweigh the Aussie pulling it back down again. ISM manufacturing data rose to a two-year high along with US construction spending reaching near eleven-year highs. Aussie currently changing hands at 0.7215 with no local data due out today, the currency will look to offshore with the FOMC minutes due to be released.
1.6850 - 1.7050
The Great British Pound finished lower against the USD overnight despite a better than expected result in Manufacturing PMI for the month of December, which read at 56.1 beating the 53.3 forecast by economists. This result saw manufacturing activity pick up at its fastest rate since December 2013. This confirms that sellers remain in control and the Sterling remains a currency ultimately dictated to by sentiment, specifically Brexit sentiment. On Wednesday, the UK will release Construction PMI, with a forecast of 52.6 points. However all eyes will be on the Federal Reserve which will release the minutes of its last policy meeting in December. The Pound is currently trading at 1.2237 against the USD, providing support at 1.2111 and weekly resistance at 1.2350.
The U.S Dollar touched fresh 14 year highs through the first full day of trading in 2017, surging higher on stronger than expected manufacturing growth and increased construction spending. U.S factory activity grew at its fastest pace in two years through December while construction spending increased to its highest level in over 10 years stimulating demand for the USD on expectations of continued economic improvement. A string of upbeat labour market and macroeconomic indicators in combination with ever increasing expectations of renewed fiscal stimulus have prompted investors to raise expectations surrounding a tighter Fed and FOMC monetary policy program through 2017 driving the dollar higher. The Dollar index moved through 103.82, its highest level since December 2002, while the Euro moved through 1.0350 touching intraday lows at 1.0342. Profit taking saw moves somewhat checked as attentions now turn to the Fed' December meeting minutes for direction through trade on Wednesday.
0.6880 - 0.6970
A relatively quiet day for the markets yesterday as bank holidays proceeded on both sides of the Pacific in New Zealand and the United States. Opening yesterday at 0.6927 against the Greenback, the Kiwi saw an intraday high of 0.6975. A negative reading overnight of the Global Dairy Trade index of -3.9% was the second consecutive slide in auctions as limited buyers could not absorb the increase in volume on offer by Fonterra. Whilst there was not a large move on the NZD/USD after the announcement it helped the continued slide in overnight trading to an eventual low of 0.6890. The US dollar strengthened across the board as the manufacturing sector expanded at its fastest pace in two years.
0.7140 – 0.7220
Unable to hold its ground up above the 72 US Cents mark to end 2016, the Australian dollar failed to gain any traction during the final week of last year, running into to some fresh and weighty resistance on approaches towards 0.7240. Amid daily volumes which sat consistently 30% lower than its 30-Day moving average, active participants will be eager to see trading volumes and liquidity normalise over the next 24 hours. In light of a Greenback run which has now stretched into its third straight month, manufacturing prints out of China and the United States over the comings days are likely to provide markets with their first key risk event. Kicking off in a modestly lower position, near-term consolidation will be first and foremost for the Aussie as the broader bias still sits with the world' reserve currency. This morning the Australian dollar currently buys 71.80 US Cents.
1.7040 - 1.7150
The Great British Pound has retreated over the past two sessions following a strong bounce back from the world' reserve currency. With technical indicators turning south the Sterling broke down reaching an eventual low of 1.2276 versus the Greenback. With flows still very light, this is likely to change this evening ahead of a Manufacturing PMI read from Britain' economy. With a three day window this week finally being littered with key macro events, its likely investors will be asked to absorb their first dose of volatility for the New Year. Opening lower versus the Greenback (1.2281), the Sterling opens stronger versus the Australian dollar (1.7089) and the New Zealand dollar (1.7715).
Following a late year rally in which the US election pushed stocks to fresh new peaks, promises of multiple interest rates rises from the US Federal Reserve has investors looking into the new-year hopeful that the flourish of positive activity witnessed since November will carry through into January. Recovering from a two-week low versus a basket of six major currencies yesterday, the Greenbacks sell-off over the past fortnight has been more an indication of profit taking rather than investors in fact trimming their bullish bets on the world' reserve currency. Having notched up a 4 percent rise last year, the US Dollar has now finished higher for a fourth consecutive year as investors look in the near-term towards Friday' non-farm payroll report to re-confirm the FOMC' positive rhetoric in reference to US Labour markets. Opening stronger when valued against a basket of six major currencies the Greenback is stronger versus both the Japanese Yen (117.640) whilst weaker versus the Euro (1.0457).
0.6900 - 0.6960
In a relatively quiet start to the New Year the NZD/USD opens in a weaker position this morning extending a decline which first started during the US session overnight on Friday. Bottoming out a rate of 0.6919 when valued against its US Counterpart it was the Greenback which recovered from a two week low on Friday, providing a tough environment for the Kiwi to advance. Whilst a weaker than expected Chinese PMI report over the weekend has also contributed to the softer start this morning overall market conditions still remain somewhat muted. The New Zealand dollar currently buys 69.27 US Cents.
0.7170 – 0.7240
Finding around 30 basis points worth of support intraday the Australian dollar tracked back up above the 72 US Cents mark on Thursday. Bolstered by a stronger Yen and a weaker US Dollar the domestic unit has been viewed as the next best alternative over the past 24 hours as volumes in crude oil, equities and currencies all traded well below there daily averages. Reaching its highest level in more than week, the Australian dollar has clearly benefitted amid signs of profit taking as investors look to sell out of long US dollar positions. In what' shaping as a quiet end to 2016 the Aussie opens stronger buying 72.07 US Cents.
1.6950 – 1.7050
Whilst failing to distinctively sustain a rally which would see the Sterling advance from levels close to its lowest point in two months there has been some mild upside for the Great British Pound in overnight trade. With several of the major units benefitting from a lower Greenback the Sterling' experience was a similar one, bouncing from a low of 1.2209 to reach a high of 1.2274. Holding firm at least for the time-being above the 1.2200 handle, economic and fundamental support will need to kick early in the new year should investors look to witness a more convincing recovery. Opening stronger versus the Greenback at a rate of 1.2252 the Sterling is weaker versus both the Australian dollar (1.6997) and the New Zealand dollar (1.7611).
Rallying for a second day the Japanese Yen strengthened versus the US Dollar on Thursday after a relatively upbeat summary of opinions was released by the Bank of Japan. Signalling a moderate economic recovery the Yens appeal has been given an even more favourable edge amid speculation that the Greenback' monumental appreciation may have stretched too far. With investors preparing to close out a volatile year, fundamentals are expected to play a bigger role during January following months of positive sentiment driven mainly by Donald Trump' surprise election win. Following an overnight session void of any substantial market moves US equity markets have stalled as yields on US Treasuries hit a two week low. Temporarily halting the attractiveness of US dollar dominated assets the Yen has taken full advantage with the USD/JPY opening lower at 116.645, meanwhile the 17 nation euro is stronger swapping hands at a rate of 1.0483.
0.6920 – 0.6980
Investors have continued to square up positions as the end of 2016 looms, a move which has weighed heavily on the world' reserve currency during overnight trade. Defensive and cautious sums up Thursday' mood as risk appetite waned and broader volumes remained thin. Not necessarily indicative of a reserving upward channel for the Greenback, this week has been clearly defined by a window in which investors have looked to secure already healthy gains. Trading up above the 0.6950 mark for much of yesterday' session one New Zealand dollar is currently worth 69.56 US Cents.
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