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Australian Dollar Volatility Ahead as RBA Compounds External Threats

Fundamental Forecast for Australian Dollar: Neutral

  • Conflicting Forecasts Spell Aussie Volatility on RBA Policy Announcement
  • Greece Woes, Fed Policy Bets Still Significant for Aussie Dollar Price Action
  • Identify Critical Turning Points for the Australian Dollar with DailyFX SSI

After weeks of preoccupation with external forces, the Australian Dollar will see domestic factors re-enter the spotlight. The Reserve Bank of Australia is due to hold its monthly monetary policy meeting, with conflicting cues ahead of the sit-down’s outcome warning of volatility ahead.

A survey of economists polled by Bloomberg forecasts that Glenn Stevens and company will keep the benchmark lending rate unchanged at 2.25 percent. Priced-in expectations put the probability of a 25 basis point reduction at 75 percent however. This means that – whatever the outcome – a meaningful share of the market may be caught wrong-footed and scramble to adjust exposure.

For its part, the RBA may well have warmed up to topping up stimulus. Growth slowed to the weakest in a year in the fourth quarter and the malaise appears to be carrying over into 2015. Overall economic news-flow continues to disappoint relative to consensus forecasts and exports – long a bastion of strength – have fallen for 10 consecutive months compared with a year prior as iron ore prices sank.

The reintroduction of event risk on the homegrown front will not dismiss the market-moving potential of macro forces however. The Fed will publish minutes from its March meeting, with traders keen for confirmation of the deepening dovish shift in timing bets on the first post-QE rate hike. Futures markets reveal a lean toward an increase in October after Friday’s dismal payrolls data, a far cry from earlier speculation about June or July. Signs of trepidation on the FOMC may boost risk sentiment as well as the Aussie.

Continued deadlock between Greece and its creditors remains another source of worry. Athens is due to repay €462 million to the IMF next week and service an additional €2.4 billion in maturing treasury bills in the week that follows. The absence of an accord on bailout funding may mean these payments are missed, setting off the spiral toward default and – in the worst case scenario – an exit from the Eurozone. Needless to say, such a turn of events would spell trouble for sentiment and the Australian unit.