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AUD / USD
0.7600 - 0.7730
The Australian dollar enjoyed a second consecutive day of stagnant trade struggling to break outside a 30 point range. Despite a strong reduction in the current account deficit, driven by stronger commodities prices, the AUD bounced between intraday lows at 0.7661 and session highs at 0.7694 as investor' square positions ahead of what promise to be a potentially volatile Wednesday. Attentions are squarely tuned to today' fourth quarter GDP print, and while Tuesday' stronger than expected current account report bodes well for a positive uptick any downturn will likely dampen recent AUD positivity and could force a move outside recent ranges. Following the headline domestic data release markets will turn to U.S president Trump as he addresses Congress and is expected to deliver updates and a timeline of implementation against a much expected tax reform policy. Failure to deliver will undo recent hawkish commentary from Fed officials and likely force a wider USD sell off opening the door for a consolidated move beyond 0.77.
Great British Pound
GBP / AUD
1.6100 - 1.6290
The Great British Pound is weaker today when valued against its US counterpart on the back of continued speculation about a possible Scottish independence referendum, at the time the UK is getting ready to leave the EU. The Sterling hit an intraday high of 1.2470 on the back of worse-than-expected US Q4 GDP which came in at 1.9% below the 2.1% expected. Yesterday' GfK Consumer Confidence Survey decreased one point for the month of February to -6. Today attentions turn to Manufacturing PMI for the month February which is forecast to fall to 55.7 from 55.9 the previous month. The GBP/USD pair is currently trading at 1.2383. We now expect support to hold on moves approaching 1.2345 while any upward push will likely meet resistance around 1.2470.
USD, EUR, JPY
The Euro moved above 1.0600 momentarily touching a high of 1.0630 against the U.S Dollar as Italian inflation was reversed sharply in February, following a large drop January, there was a 0.2% rise las month which brings the annual pace to 1.6%. EUR/USD reversed gains to an eventual low of 1.0572 following a raft of economic data released from the world' largest economy, it was a bit of a mixed bag with quarter four GDP missing expectations rising at an annual pace of 1.9% vs expected 2.1% however, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index hit 114.8 in February, up by 3.2 points which was its highest level in sixteen years. The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index also saw improved numbers rising to 17 in February. In other news Federal Reserve president Harker said overnight that he expects the Central Bank to raise interest rates three times this year, providing that the economy stays on the right track. Over in Japan Industrial Production Output had unexpectedly contracted in January which was the first fall in six months, USD/JPY open this morning at similar levels as yesterday of 11.78. The US President is due to address congress today at AEST 1pm which is the main event markets will be focused on.
New Zealand Dollar
NZD / USD
0.7080 - 0.7240
The New Zealand dollar advanced higher in overnight trading as a number of data releases saw the US dollar driven lower. Starting the day at 0.7200, we saw a deficit of NZD $285m in New Zealand trade balance figures in January, well short of expectations due to a spike higher in volume of oil imports. This sent the Kiwi lower to an intraday low of 0.7178. United States GDP figures of 1.9% for the 4th Quarter of 2016 missed expectations sending the NZD/USD cross to an eventual high of 0.7235. Highs overnight quickly evaporated this morning, pairing all gains as New York Federal Reserve President Willian Dudley has come out hawkish on CNN, stating the case for monetary policy tightening has become a lot more compelling now sentiment has improved and growth on track at 2% per annum. The New Zealand dollar immediately dropped on comments and opens at 0.7190 ahead of fourth-quarter terms of trade data this morning.
0.7630 – 0.7730
The Australian dollar enjoyed a quiet start to the week maintaining a tight 30 point range throughout trade on Monday. With little macroeconomic data on hand the AUD again tested resistance approaching 0.77 U.S cents before edging lower into the Northern Hemisphere session. Markets were steady as investors square positions ahead of what should be a busy week headlined by commentary for U.S President Donald Trump and fourth quarter GDP numbers. Should Trump proffer a deeper insight into his plans for tax reform and fiscal stimulus there is scope to suggest a short term USD rally could follow, however comments from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin suggest the effects of reform will not be felt until the latter half of the year with a real term impact on growth delayed into 2018. Such an outlook may not fit with the markets expectations for rapid growth assistance and leaves the door open to bolder AUD upside and a push on 0.80. Attentions now turn to New Home sales and Private Sector Credit for macroeconomic direction through Tuesday.
1.6150 – 1.6350
The Great British Pound is weaker today when valued against its US counterpart falling to an overnight low of 1.2431 a two-week low as Brexit fears return. The pound was the main mover overnight following reports that Prime Minister Theresa May could agree to a new Scottish independence vote, but on the condition, it is held after the UK leaves the EU. All attentions now turn to today' GFK Consumer Confidence Survey which is expected to have fallen in the month of February by 6 against the previous months print in January -5. The GBP/USD pair is currently trading at 1.2442. We now expect support to hold on moves approaching 1.2390 while any upward push will likely meet resistance around 1.2520.
The Euro weakened on concerns about upcoming political events, with polls showing independent candidate Macron leads over the Republican Fillon and shortens the gap against the National Front Leader Marine Le Pen. Many believe if Le Pen does win, she could lead France out of the Eurozone, EUR/USD retracted from 1.0630 to 1.0580. A mixed bag of macroeconomic data out of the US saw the Japanese Yen appreciate against the Greenback touching 112.74, as strong US Durable Goods climbed 1.8% in January and the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index rose from 22.1 in January to 24.5 in February, however, Pending new home sales fell unexpectedly in January by 2.8%. With Trump' first major policy address to Congress today markets will keenly watch for further clues on his key policy agenda, such as tax reforms and infrastructure spending.
0.7130 – 0.7250
The New Zealand dollar consolidated its position above 0.72 U.S cents, trading sideways in a tight twenty-point range in domestic trading on Monday. Visitor arrivals were positive for the month of January, boosted by annual Chinese New year holidays. Main movements overnight were US dollar weakness due to a combination of disappointing core durable goods orders and home sales in the United States. The Kiwi hit an overnight high of 0.7227 against the greenback before pairing all gains to open at 0.7192 this morning. Investors look to Trade balance figures where it is possible figures could return to surplus for the month of January.
0.7625 – 0.7740
The Australian dollar edged lower into the weekly close sliding back below 0.77U.S cents despite wide spread USD weakness. The Greenback gave up losses against the Yen and a basket of major currency counterparts as investors question the likelihood of swift amendments to U.S tax reform and increased fiscal stimulus. The AUD has struggled to hold onto gains enjoyed above 0.7690/0.77 having found itself largely range bound between 0.7630 and 0.7730. Having failed to break resistance at 0.7730 the Aussie appears at the top of its recent rally, however should GDP swing higher there is scope for further upside. Despite a string of reasonable macroeconomic indicators the expected interest yield between Australia and the US remains largely unchanged with the RBA likely to maintain record low interest rates. Wednesday' GDP print may be the catalyst needed to break the cycle of neutral monetary policy. A poor print will mark a 2nd consecutive quarterly decline and by technical definition push the economy into recession opening the door to a possible rate cut. Attentions today turn to the U.S docket for headline macroeconomic indicators.
1.6150 - 1.6350
The Great British Pound opened this morning little changed when valued against its US Counterpart with the pair retreating from a weekly high of 1.2569. During Friday' session BBA Mortgage Approvals surged to their highest in a year in January, up to 44.7K mortgages in January, and up from 43.6K in December. ON the local data front this week it begins with Wednesday' Manufacturing PMI for the month of February with markets forecasting a reading of 55.5. Mortgage Approvals will also be released on Wednesday for the month of February. Rounding off the week Construction PMI on Thursday is forecast at 52.4. Services PMI on Friday is forecast at 54.2. The GBP/USD pair is currently trading at 1.2457. We now expect support to hold on moves approaching 1.2430 while any upward push will likely meet resistance around 1.2485.
Still playing on the back of investor minds last week were the minutes of the Federal Reserve which have dampening demand for the world' largest reserve currency, they revealed the Feds uncertainty with Trump' economic agenda. USD/JPY closed the week down at 112.14, having reached 113.77 earlier in the week. Through mixed bag of economic data out of the US the Euro initially gained touching levels of 1.0618 before falling back into negative territory. U.S New Home Sales rose by 3.7% which came in under expectations of 6.3% and in a separate report the University of Michigan confirmed the Consumer Sentiment Index hit 96.3 this month, slightly above expectations. Support for the EUR/USD sits at 1.0520, any moves held above 1.0600 could favour a recovery in the pair.
0.7130 - 0.7245
The New Zealand dollar traded in a tight range last week testing resistance levels at 0.7240 on Friday evening. With little domestic news on Friday, markets were flat leading into the American session. U.S new home sales were softer and consumer sentiment dropped for the first time since Trumps election win. A busy week for economic data both domestically and offshore kick started by local Visitor arrival numbers and Trade balance figures on Tuesday. The Kiwi opens this morning at 0.72 against the US Dollar.
0.7660 – 0.7760
The Australian dollar broke through and held onto gains above 0.77 U.S cents yesterday buoyed by wider USD weakness. Having broken resistance at 0.7690 for a second consecutive week the AUD appears poised to gap higher if it can cement recent gains and push through 0.7730. The Aussie has enjoyed strong gains throughout the year thus far and looks well placed to continue upward if the yield advantage remains intact. A strengthening current account deficit buoyed by an upswing in commodities lead by Iron Ore and Coal and an RBA governor confident the economy can continue to expand there is scope for a push toward 0.80. Of course much depends on the continued uncertainty that surrounds the Trump administration and its impact on Fed policy changes as attentions today turn to Governor Lowe for greater insight into RBA policy thinking and continued political shifts across Europe.
The Great British Pound jumped making strong gains against the US Dollar breaking through 1.25 resistance level, it touched an eventual high of 1.2560 which was a level not seen since February 10th. The catalyst for the move was driven by a rebound in U.K Retail Sales, the survey of 128 firms, of which 64 were retailers showed that sales volumes are expected to rise again in the year to March. The slight increase in overall retails sales volumes were assisted by clothing and non-store sectors. With Cable currently changing hands at 1.2553, investors will next focus on today' BBA Mortgage Approval. It' leading indicator of housing market demand for the UK and measures the number of new mortgages for home purchase were approved by the British Bankers Association, the BBA represents major banks that make up around 65% of the total UK mortgage lending.
The US Dollar moved lower across the board through trade on Thursday relinquishing hard fought gains won earlier in the week as comments from Trump administration officials weighed heavily on the worlds base currency. Having drifted sideways for much of the day the Dollar moved downward as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested that policy steps and Tax Reform were unlikely to impact the economy this year. The comments appeared to mute Trumps recent promises and again throw into question when and where Trump will deliver the fiscal and reformist policies proffered throughout the electoral campaign. Moving through 113 JPY the USD touched two week lows at 112.57 while the Euro met resistance on moves approaching 1.06. Any advance for the 19 Nation combined unit was muted by new polls that showed Nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen was closing the gap on Independent Emmanuel Macron. Falling against a basket of counterparts excluding the Dollar the Euro remains increasingly vulnerable to political risk and rising uncertainty.
0.7160 – 0.7280
The New Zealand Dollar staged a comeback following comments by the new US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who told CNBC that he wanted to see a significant tax reform passed before congress’ August recess which is no more than six months away. The aim is to focus on middle-income tax cut and simplification for business, with no further clues on this markets were disappointed who have been expecting the Trump administration to deliver on promises of tax reform, infrastructure spending and a cut in regulation. In other news, US Initial claims increased last week from 238k to 244k for the week ending February 18th which assisted the NZD/USD pair holding above 72c, currently changing hands at 0.7230.
The Australian Dollar drifted lower from Wednesdays open to an intraday low of 0.7667 as Wage growth continues to disappoint. Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe suggested in his Australia -Canada Summit speech that he does not expect wage growth to continue lower. The seasonally adjusted reading of 0.5% for the December quarter was on par with market expectations. Construction work data also failed to disappoint, falling 0.2% for the last quarter 2016, but had little impact on the local currency. Spirits were restored shortly after as Chinese home prices continued to rise, boosting the Australian dollar, hitting eventual highs of 0.7697 to close the Asian session. The Federal Reserve minutes overnight failed to give any hints as to when the next interest rate increase might be with the rhetoric wording of “fairly soon” producing US dollar weakness. The Aussie continues to test major resistance at current levels and opens at 0.7710 ahead of the local Private Capital Expenditures data this morning.
1.6050 – 1.6300
The Great British Pound weakened against the Greenback as UK fourth quarter GDP data was revised up by 0.1pp to 0.7% which further confirmed a more resilient economy following the EU referendum. The Office for National Statistics reported strong consumer spending and services output but was offset by a fall in fixed investment spending. Following the report, the Cable fell from 1.2470 to 1.2440 and touched an eventual low of 1.2410. With the economic calendar light for the reminder of the week the pair will look offshore for direction. GBP/AUD marginally lower at 1.6145 and GBP/NZD at 1.7309 at the time of writing.
0.7120 – 0.7240
Despite a strong U.S existing Home Sales print for January of 5.69 million which was well above expectations of 5.55 million the NZD/USD had little reaction to the data as it eagerly anticipated the release of the US Federal minutes. The minutes of the previous meeting showed that a strong currency could hurt the US economy and that officials said it may be appropriate to raise interest rates again ‘fairly soon’ should jobs and inflation data come in line with expectations. As soon as news hit the wires the pair moved from 0.7130 to 0.7190 and has consolidated at this level.
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