- Slowing growth worldwide and particularly in China, to keep AUD/USD under pressure at the beginning of 2019.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia is proving that its cautious stance has better effects on the economy than rushing into tightening.
Aussie dumped on slowing growth fears
The Aussie was a casualty of the US-China trade war, heading into the end of 2018 1,000 pips below its yearly high when compared to the greenback. Being among the wealthiest nations in terms of wealth per capita, the Australian economy suffered from the ups and downs, the downs mostly, of the US administration's decision to apply protectionism. A deteriorating domestic housing market, a result of tightening lending conditions and weakening demand, is also behind the AUD collapse. Despite the Reserve Bank of Australia has kept its cash rate at 1.5% since August 2016, mortgages had become more expensive, while dwelling prices soared on the back of cheap money pumped into house buying as an investment. Indeed, house prices have eased recently, but with wages stagnated, progress in the sector is too slow, enough to trigger concerns among policymakers.
In its latest monetary policy of the year, the RBA left the cash rate unchanged as said, while Governor Lowe said that the "economy is performing well," yet adding that household consumption remains as a "continuing source of uncertainty," amid the imbalance between weak income and debt levels still high. While agreeing that the next move in rates will likely be to the upside, the RBA sees no reason for a near-term adjustment in the monetary policy, with speculative interest pricing in an upcoming rate hike in 2020.
A light of hope comes from the employment sector, which maintained a solid pace of growth in November, as the economy added 37K new jobs, with the participation rate increasing to 65.7%. However, the largest contribution came from part-time positions.
Trade war to keep weighing AUD lower in the first quarter of 2019
China is Australia's largest trading partner with over 30% of Australian exports going into the second world's largest economy, with the Aussie directly correlated with Chinese growth. Trade tensions have fueled the economic slowdown of the Asian giant, which, in the third quarter of 2018 grew just by 6.5%, the weakest year-on-year quarterly GDP growth since the first quarter of 2009. In the three months to September, the Australian economy grew by 0.6%, the weakest pace of expansion in two years.
The US has been trying to reduce its trade deficit with China, so far unsuccessfully, as the country's trade deficit with China during the first 10 months of this year matching the total deficit of 2017, despite tariffs. Both countries agreed on a 90-day truce that will end next February. The initial optimism about re-starting talks has already begun fading, despite some positive signs coming from both parts. Speculative interest at this point believes that a further escalation of the trade war is coming afterward, fueling the global economic downturn. That said, there's little room for an AUD recovery in the next quarter. More likely, the currency will continue to suffer from fears of what's to come and soft growth figures. However, Australia has the chance to emerge victorious even in the case of a deepening conflict between the US and China. Beijing could turn its eyes to its neighbor to replace agricultural products that come from the US if this last persists with its tariffs' policy.
AUD/USD Technical Outlook
The greenback is the overall winner this year, with the AUD/USD pair topping at 0.8135 in January, to trade at the time being roughly 100 pips above a yearly low of 0.7020 achieved in October. The bounce from this last stalled short of the 38.2% retracement of the yearly slide at around 0.7440, a level that proved strong multiple times between June and August, as it has been unable to recover above it ever since piercing it. Long-term charts indicate that the risk is skewed to the downside as in the weekly and the monthly charts, the pair is developing below all of its moving averages. The bearish case is firmer in the monthly chart, with a break below the yearly low confirming more slides coming, first heading to 0.7032, December 2016 low and later to 0.6826, 2016 yearly low. At this point, the dollar doesn't seem to have the strength enough to take down this last. The 61.8% retracement of the yearly slump stands at 0.7710, a level that the pair can reach on a firm recovery above the mentioned 0.7440, but not overcome if the trade war continues.
Forecast Poll 2019
|Average Forecast Price||0.7192|
|FXOpen team||0.7450 Bullish|
|Dmitriy Gurkovskiy||0.6800 Bearish|
|Brad Alexander||0.8000 Bullish|
|ForexGDP Team||0.6000 Bearish|
|Dmitry Lukashov||0.7300 Bullish|
|Chris Weston||0.7300 Bullish|
|Gregor Horvat||0.6400 Bearish|
|Nenad Kerkez||0.7300 Bullish|
|Joseph Trevisani||0.8200 Bullish|
|Ed Ponsi||0.8000 Bullish|
|HotForex Team||0.6400 Bearish|
|George Hallmey||0.9692 Bullish|
|Alberto Muñoz||0.6100 Bearish|
|Yohay Elam||0.6500 Bearish|
|Walid Salah El Din||0.7000 Bearish|
|OctaFx Analyst Team||0.7150 Sideways|
|Jeff Langin||0.6500 Bearish|
|Scott Barkley||0.6825 Bearish|
|ING Bank||0.7200 Sideways|
|Danske Bank||0.7400 Bullish|
|National Australia Bank||0.7500 Bullish|
|Royal Bank of Canada||0.6700 Bearish|
|WestPack Bank||0.7000 Bearish|
|Banque Nationale du Canada||0.7600 Bullish|
|BMO Capital Markets||0.7480 Bullish|
|CIBC Bank||0.7800 Bullish|
|Brown Brothers Harriman||0.6600 Bearish|
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