Australian Dollar to Decline Amid Broad-Based Risk Aversion
Fundamental Forecast for Australian Dollar: Bearish
- Australian Dollar at Multi-Decade High, Reversal Risk Mounting
- Speculative Positioning Suggests Aussie Dollar is Nearing Top
The Australian Dollar continues to be driven by risk sentiment trends, with AUDUSD showing a firm correlation with the MSCI World Stock Index. With confidence under assault from multiple fronts in the week ahead, the path of least resistance appears to lead lower as falling shares pull the high-yielding antipodean currency along for the ride. Sellers have their pick of reasons to push risky assets lower, with the range of headwinds facing sentiment broadly divided into economic and geopolitical factors.
On the economic front, Europe and the US both appear problematic. In the States, economists’ expectations call for a week of cooling top-tier economic data culminating in a flat Nonfarm Payrolls report. Softer performance in the world’s top consumer market will weigh on global recovery expectations and risk appetite at large, especially so considering the uptrend in economic data surprises (as tracked by Citibank) that held from early December was decisively broken two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the March 24-25 EU leaders’ summit failed to address the immediate threats posed by rising sovereign risk in Portugal and Spain, opting to focus on the permanent bailout mechanism that will kick in 2013 when current arrangements expire. Finally, considerable uncertainty still surrounds Japan and the toll that the Tohoku earthquake will take on global recovery, all the while the threat of a serious nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi continues to linger.
Sizing up the geopolitical landscape, things do not appear much more encouraging. Turmoil in Bahrain – a proxy case for any protest movement that may arise in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer – has eased somewhat after GCC troops entered the fray, but their very presence in Manama hints the ruling Al-Khalifa regime feels far from at ease. In the meantime, tensions have increased in Syria, Jordan and Yemen, while UN troops continue to engage the forces of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. The unrest pushed oil prices to close at $105.40/barrel last week, the highest in 30 months, and crude is likely to continue marching higher to the detriment of global economic growth expectations as long as reports of bloodshed continue to fill the headlines.
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