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Australian Dollar Follows Risk Trends As RBA Comes To End of Tightening Cycle

Australian Dollar Follows Risk Trends As RBA Comes To End of Tightening Cycle

2010-07-22 18:24:00
John Rivera, Currency Analyst

Australian Dollar Follows Risk Trends As RBA Comes To End of Tightening Cycle


The AUD/USD has soared 200 pips on the day as strong corporate earnings sparked broader risk appetite. Caterpillar Inc., 3M Co., UPS Inc. and AT&T Inc. all topped earnings forecasts and raised their outlooks for future profit. The brighter outlook sent stocks soaring and fueled bullish Aussie sentiment. The pair’s correlation with risks remains at extremely elevated levels, holding above 85% over the past month. Typically, we examine the relationship with commodities but at 58% that relationship has taken a back seat to equity markets as the high yielding currency has become a proxy for risk appetite. Yield expectations have also taken a back seat with the RBA nearing an end to its tightening cycle with its influence holding near 35%.


RBA Interest Rate Expectations

Minutes from the central bank’s rate meeting earlier this month showed that the RBA felt global economic growth has been stable despite fears of another credit crunch in the wake of the European financial crisis. The RBA opted to keep the cash rate on hold at 4.5 per cent on July 6th and suggested it would not consider moving from this position at the August 3rd meeting unless inflation had changed. The import price index for the second quarter is expected to be the highest since December, 2008 at 1.0% making the case that consumer prices could reach similar levels. An upcoming election and a slowing global economy make the argument against further tightening. Overnight index swaps are showing that markets are only pricing in 20 bps worth of tightening in the next year signaling that one more hike is in store before the central bank ultimately pauses. However, that may not come until after the elections. Discuss this and trading ideas join the AUD/USD forum.


FOMC Interest Rate Expectations

Existing home sales in June slumping 5.1% and a gauge that forecasts economic activity for the next six months slipped 0.2% providing support for Fed Chairman’s dovish outlook. However, both metrics declined less than expected providing some hope that any downturn may be a small road bump in the overall recovery. Central bank head Ben Bernanke was on the hill for a second day of testimony and increased the importance of the link between jobs and monetary policy, stating that "we are ready and will act if the economy does not continue to improve, if we don't see the kind of improvements in the labor market that we are hoping for and expecting." Today’s initial jobless claims report show unemployment rolls increases by 37,000 making the case for further stimulus from the FOMC. Indeed, markets are only giving a 8.2% chance of a rate hike by September.



U.S. equity markets sharply reversed yesterday’s losses on the back of the strong earnings and outlooks from blue chip names. Earnings season can taketh as easy as it giveth and with names like Microsoft, Ford, McDonald’s and American Express on tap sentiment could easily change if they disappoint. Today’s rally has the Dow up against trend line resistance which could lead to a reversal. Conversely, a break above would expose 10,600. Discuss this and other fundamental data in the Economics Forum.


To discuss this report or be added to the email list contact John Rivera, Currency Analyst: instructor@dailyfx.com

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