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AUD/USD forced onto the back foot to decade lows, still no let-up on US dollar strength

  • AUD/USD falls to decade low as DXY rallies towards 100, PBoC in easing cycle while RBA and coronavirus uncertainty prevails.
  • Aussie Unemployment Rate miss kicked off the downside, RBA could be forced to cut sooner than expected if deteriorates further. 

AUD/USD is right back onto the backfoot below a key support structure around the 0.6660/70s, forced to a decade low following a double whammy in Aisa on the unemployment miss and the People’s Bank of China’s second interest rate cut for the week. At the time of writing, AUD/USD is trading at 0.613 having fallen from a high of 0.6694 to a low of 0.6610. 

First of all, markets were all set for the Aussie jobs data with a particular focus on the Unemployment Rate. Following a series of improvements in the data, the rate shot higher from 5.1% prior back to 5.3% which bemused the bulls. consequently, AUD/USD nudged lower, but it wasn’t until the PBoC made their interest rate announcement that really gave up the ghost for the Aussie. 

Addressing the Aussiejobs data before we get to the PBoC rate decisions, in the detail of the report, headline number came in at +13.5k, beating the consensus at +10k. What was promising also, which helped to underpin the Aussie from free fall was a sizeable increase in full-time jobs with a drop in part-time employment as well. 

RBA to hold off cutting until unemployment rate deteriorates ‘materially’

Additionally, something which analysts at TD Securities have pointed out, id that the “RBA’s alternative measure of unemployment, the underutilisation rate (unemployment + underemployment) spiked to 13.9% from 13.4% indicating a significant pick up in spare capacity,” the analysts explained. 

“RBA Gov. Lowe indicated that the unemployment rate would need to deteriorate ‘materially’ for the RBA to cut. Notably, the next jobs report is on 19th March. Should that spike again, an April cut is on the cards. For now, we stick with April but the market may prefer May if the CPI print on 29th April disappoints.”

Elsewhere, it was the PBoC that finally tipped over the apple cart with their interest rate cut announcements. Responding to the coronavirus, the central bank and reduced the country’s benchmark loan prime rate (LPR) to lower borrowing costs and ease financial strains on companies hit by the virus epidemic.

  • China sets 1-year loan prime rate at 4.05% vs 4.15% a month earlier.
  • China sets 5-year loan prime rate at 4.75% vs 4.80% a month earlier.

This followed a cut to the medium-term lending that was made on Monday as policymakers sought to ease the drag to the businesses from a coronavirus outbreak that has severely disrupted activity. The cut helped Chinese stock markets rally, which in turn lent support to other Asian bourses. 

While this is seen to be a positive measure for markets, AUD has fallen in tandem with the Chinese Yuan. The markets are looking for further stimulus from the Chinese authorities and the PBoC is being priced for further incremental monetary easing. the analysts at TD Securities are looking for the central bank to target reserve requirement cuts alongside further counter-cyclical fiscal support – “but this is unlikely to be sufficient to prevent a sharp drop in Q1 growth and a hit to growth for the full year,” the analysts argued. 

Greenback charges on to levels last seen in 2017, DXY 9 pips shy of the 100 handle

Meanwhile, the US dollar has been turning heads with jaw-dropping gains through the 99 handle in the DXY and to the highest levels in the since April 2017 business. for a full load down on what’s behind the move, our team of senior analysts discuss the ins and outs of recent events which have propelled the greenback trough critical resistance levels at the start of this year. Follow the discussing here: US Dollar Strength: About more than the coronavirus’ contagion

AUD/USD levels

 

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