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Australian Dollar Rally at Risk as Soft Chinese Data Looms Ahead

Australian Dollar Rally at Risk as Soft Chinese Data Looms Ahead

2014-04-12 06:26:00
Ilya Spivak, Head Strategist, APAC
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Forex-Australian-Dollar-Rally-at-Risk-as-Soft-Chinese-Data-Looms-Ahead_body_Picture_5.png, Australian Dollar Rally at Risk as Soft Chinese Data Looms Ahead

Fundamental Forecast for Australian Dollar: Neutral

  • Australian Dollar Hits Five Month High on Firming RBA Policy Bets
  • Soft Chinese Economic Data May Undermine Aussie in the Week Ahead
  • Help Time Turning Points for the Australian Dollar with DailyFX SSI

The Australian Dollar continued to recover last week, finishing Friday’s session with the highest close in five months against its US counterpart. The move tracked a pickup in RBA interest rate hike expectations, with a Credit Suisse gauge tracking the priced-in outlook now at levels unseen since November and pointing to an interest rate hike within 12 months.

A hefty helping of top-tier Chinese economic data may undermine Aussie strength in the week ahead however. The first quarter GDP report takes top billing, with expectations pointing to a slowdown to 7.3 percent on the year-on-year growth rate. That would mark the weakest pace of expansion since the Great Recession trough recorded in March 2009. Softening retail sales and industrial production readings are likewise on tap.

Data from Citigroup shows Chinese economic news-flow has increasingly underperformed relative to consensus forecasts since mid-February. Indeed, the gap between expectations and realized outcomes is now at its most dramatic in five years. That suggests analysts continue to underestimate the extent of the slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy, opening the door for disappointing outcomes.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner. That means that a slowdown in the East Asian giant may spill over into Australia via ebbing cross-border demand, undermining the case for RBA tightening. Needless to say, that bodes ill for the Aussie Dollar. The release of minutes from April’s monetary policy meeting where Governor Glenn Stevens and company once again argued in favor of a period of stability in baseline rates may further temper hawkish bets.

On the external front, a busy docket of scheduled commentary from Federal Reserve officials including Chair Yellen as well as the release of the central bank’s Beige Book survey of regional economic conditions may prove market-moving. AUD/USD has moved closely in line with the Australia-US front-end bond yield spread. If last week’s disappointment in minutes from March’s FOMC minutes is softened by supportive outcomes on these fronts, a pro-taper shift in policy bets may likewise put pressure on the Aussie.

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