AUD/USD posted significant losses last week, falling 1.2 percent. It is a light schedule on the fundamental front, with just five events this week. Here is an outlook at the highlights and an updated technical analysis for AUD/USD.
The RBA minutes noted that policymakers had discussed trimming interest rates, but in the end, they maintained the current level of 0.75%. The bank also expects the coronavirus outbreak to “subtract from growth in exports over the first half of 2020″. Wage growth remained at 0.5% for a second straight month, matching the estimate. Employment numbers were mixed. The economy created 13.5 thousand, down from 28.9 thousand a month earlier. Still, this beat the estimate of 10.0 thousand. The unemployment rate jumped from 5.1% to 5.3%, which was above the forecast of 5.2%.
In the U.S., the Producers Price Index improved to 0.5%, up from 0.1% a month earlier. The Federal Reserve minutes indicated that Fed policymakers are cautiously confident that they can maintain current interest rate levels in 2020. At the same time, the minutes highlighted the significant risk posed by the coronavirus outbreak, stating that “the threat of the coronavirus, in addition to its human toll, had emerged as a new risk to the global growth outlook, which participants agreed warranted close watching.” Policymakers also noted that the outbreak has dampened investor sentiment. This warning from the Fed underscores the threat that coronavirus poses to the global economy.
- Construction Work Done: Wednesday, 0:30. This construction indicator has reeled off five successive quarterly declines, which points to contraction in the construction industry. Another decline is projected for Q4, with a forecast of -1.0%.
- Private Capital Expenditure: Thursday, 0:30. Investment levels have been pointing downwards, with only one gain in the past six quarters. We now await the release for the fourth quarter.
- Private Sector Credit: Friday, 0:30. Borrowing levels remain weak, as consumers and businesses remain concerned over economic conditions. The December release improved to 0.2%, up from 0.1%. This matched the estimate. Another gain of 0.2% is forecast in January.
- Chinese Manufacturing PMI: Saturday, 1:00. The Aussie is sensitive to key Chinese releases, as China is Australia’s largest trading partner. The indicator has been close to the 50-level for the past three months, which points to stagnation in the manufacturing sector. We now await the February release.
AUD/USD Technical Analysis
Technical lines from top to bottom:
0.6960 has held in resistance since the first week in January, when AUD/USD went on a sharp slide.
0.6865 (mentioned last week) follows.
0.6744 has some breathing room following sharp losses by AUD/USD last week.
0.6627 was tested last week for the first time since March 2009. The pair is starting the week at this line. 0.6456 is next.
0.6380 is the final support line for now.
I remain bearish on AUD/USD
The coronavirus continues to disrupt the Chinese economy, and this is grim news for the Aussie, as China is Australia’s largest trade partner. With no signs that the virus will be contained anytime soon, the Aussie slide could continue into next week.