AUD/USD exhibits sideways trend below 0.6700 with US labor market data in focus

July 3, 2024 12:41 pm

  • AUD/USD trades sideways below 0.6700 for more than two weeks.
  • The RBA could tighten its monetary policy further as disinflation appears to have reversed.
  • Investors await the US ADP Employment Change and the ISM Services PMI for June.

The AUD/USD pair stays in a tight range below the immediate resistance of 0.6700 from almost three weeks. The upside in the Aussie asset appears to be restricted as the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has not leaned strongly towards raising interest rates further despite price pressures appear to have revamped again.

Australia’s Monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) has been accelerating for the last three months after progress in the disinflation process stalled in the December-February period. In May, the inflation measure grew strongly by 4.0% from expectations of 3.8% and the prior release of 3.6%.

Meanwhile, the US Dollar (USD) remains on the backfoot as financial markets expect the Federal Reserve (Fed) to start reducing interest rates after the September meeting. According to 30-day Federal Funds pricing data from the CME FedWatch tool, the Fed is also expected to deliver two rate cuts this year.

On Tuesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said at the European Central Bank (ECB) Forum of the Central Banking in Sintra, Portugal that the central bank has made quiet a bit progress on inflation and recent data shows that disinflation has resumed. In spite of that policymakers want to see inflation declining for months before cutting interest rates.

In today’s session, investors will focus on the ADP Employment Change and the ISM Services PMI reports for June. The ADP is expected to show that 160K job-seekers were hired by private employers, slightly higher than May’s reading of 152K. The ISM Services PMI is estimated to have expanded at a slower pace of 52.5 from the former release of 53.8.  

This week, the major trigger for the US Dollar will be the Nonfarm Payrolls (NFP) data for June, which will be published on Friday.

Australian Dollar FAQs

One of the most significant factors for the Australian Dollar (AUD) is the level of interest rates set by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Because Australia is a resource-rich country another key driver is the price of its biggest export, Iron Ore. The health of the Chinese economy, its largest trading partner, is a factor, as well as inflation in Australia, its growth rate and Trade Balance. Market sentiment – whether investors are taking on more risky assets (risk-on) or seeking safe-havens (risk-off) – is also a factor, with risk-on positive for AUD.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) influences the Australian Dollar (AUD) by setting the level of interest rates that Australian banks can lend to each other. This influences the level of interest rates in the economy as a whole. The main goal of the RBA is to maintain a stable inflation rate of 2-3% by adjusting interest rates up or down. Relatively high interest rates compared to other major central banks support the AUD, and the opposite for relatively low. The RBA can also use quantitative easing and tightening to influence credit conditions, with the former AUD-negative and the latter AUD-positive.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner so the health of the Chinese economy is a major influence on the value of the Australian Dollar (AUD). When the Chinese economy is doing well it purchases more raw materials, goods and services from Australia, lifting demand for the AUD, and pushing up its value. The opposite is the case when the Chinese economy is not growing as fast as expected. Positive or negative surprises in Chinese growth data, therefore, often have a direct impact on the Australian Dollar and its pairs.

Iron Ore is Australia’s largest export, accounting for $118 billion a year according to data from 2021, with China as its primary destination. The price of Iron Ore, therefore, can be a driver of the Australian Dollar. Generally, if the price of Iron Ore rises, AUD also goes up, as aggregate demand for the currency increases. The opposite is the case if the price of Iron Ore falls. Higher Iron Ore prices also tend to result in a greater likelihood of a positive Trade Balance for Australia, which is also positive of the AUD.

The Trade Balance, which is the difference between what a country earns from its exports versus what it pays for its imports, is another factor that can influence the value of the Australian Dollar. If Australia produces highly sought after exports, then its currency will gain in value purely from the surplus demand created from foreign buyers seeking to purchase its exports versus what it spends to purchase imports. Therefore, a positive net Trade Balance strengthens the AUD, with the opposite effect if the Trade Balance is negative.

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