AUD/USD Soft Despite Hawkish RBA Minutes

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AUD/USD Analysis

Two weeks ago, the Reserve bank of Australia had stayed the course with another 0.25% rate increase, pointed to further increases and added a hawkish tilt, with the removal of the reference that policy "is not on a pre-set course" of the previous statement. Back then, I had noted that officials "probably had little option for anything less", given that inflation had risen by 7.8% y/y in the fourth quarter – the most since 1990.

The accounts of that decision were released earlier today and showed exactly that, since the Board contemplated between the 0.25% delivered rise and an even bigger hike of 50 basis [1]. This affirmed the renewed hawkishness and constituted a significant shift from the previous meeting, when policymakers had considered pausing their rate hiking cycle. [2]

In spite of this aggressive stance by the RBA as revealed by today's minutes, AUD/USD is actually soft, since markets brace for a slew of economic releases and the accounts of the Fed's last policy decision tomorrow, amidst heightened expectations around the terminal rate. The central bank had moderated further the pace of tightening with a 25 bps increase and we already know that some non-voting members such as Ms Mester [3] and Mr Bullard [4] had advocated for a larger move, so it will be interesting to see how this is reflected in the accounts.

Since then, the blockbuster US employment report, last week's higher than expected consumer and factory inflation and a series of hawkish Fed commentary have led markets to price in more rate increases, which has boosted the USDOLLAR. CME's FedWatch Tool assign points to another 75 basis points worth of hikes, form just 25 bps prior to the jobs report. [5]

AUD/USD is still in risk of breaching the key 0.6800-0.6780 region to the downside, but a catalyst will be required for daily closes below it that would bring 0.6628 in the spotlight. The Aussie however, managed to defend and bounce off the aforementioned support area. This may give it the opportunity to reclaim 0.7000, but fresh 2023 high (0.7158) looks like a toll order under current conditions.

Nikos Tzabouras

Senior Financial Editorial Writer

Nikos Tzabouras is a graduate of the Department of International & European Economic Studies at the Athens University of Economics and Business. He has a long time presence at FXCM, as he joined the company in 2011. He has served from multiple positions, but specializes in financial market analysis and commentary.

With his educational background in international relations, he emphasizes not only on Technical Analysis but also in Fundamental Analysis and Geopolitics – which have been having increasing impact on financial markets. He has longtime experience in market analysis and as a host of educational trading courses via online and in-person sessions and conferences.

References

1

Retrieved 20 Feb 2023 https://www.rba.gov.au/monetary-policy/rba-board-minutes/2023/2023-02-07.html

2

Retrieved 20 Feb 2023 https://www.rba.gov.au/monetary-policy/rba-board-minutes/2022/2022-12-06.html

3

Retrieved 20 Feb 2023 https://www.clevelandfed.org/collections/speeches/2023/sp-20230216-returning-to-price-stability-in-it-to-win-it-sarasota

4

Retrieved 20 Feb 2023 https://www.reuters.com/markets/rates-bonds/feds-mester-says-more-rate-hikes-needed-combat-inflation-2023-02-16/

5

Retrieved 15 Jun 2024 https://www.cmegroup.com/markets/interest-rates/cme-fedwatch-tool.html

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