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  • AUD/USD lower on Monday.

  • RBA likely to maintain rates on Tuesday.

The Australian dollar has started the week in negative territory. In the European session, AUD/USD is trading at 0.6648, down 0.40%. The Australian dollar is coming off a strong week, with gains of 1.38%.

RBA expected to hold rates

The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to hold rates at 4.35% at its Tuesday rate meeting. The central bank has paused for four straight months and the markets don’t expect any further hikes. Still, the RBA could send a hawkish message along with the pause to dampen speculation about a rate hike in 2024, with inflation still high at 4.9%, which is well above the 2% target.

Powell sends mixed message, Dollar slumps

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell spoke on Friday, and his split message sent the US dollar sharply lower against most of the majors, including the Australian dollar which jumped 1.06%.

Powell noted that monetary policy is “well into restrictive territory” and that inflation is “moving in the right direction”. The markets interpreted these remarks as signals that the Fed is done with rate tightening. Although Powell warned that it was premature to assume that the Fed had achieved a “sufficiently restrictive stance”, investors viewed the remarks as dovish and the US dollar fell sharply.

The futures markets have priced in a rate cut in March at 59% and in May at 87%, according to the CME FedWatch tool. The Fed clearly doesn’t share this stance, as most Fed members who spoke last week supported the case for holding rates at current levels for some time.

This disconnect between the Fed and the markets is likely to continue as the Fed is unlikely to discuss rate cuts while inflation remains above the 2% target. The markets are looking at a rate cut in late 2024, but a lot could happen until then. If the economy cools more quickly than expected, the RBA would have to give thought to cutting rates in order to boost growth.

AUD/USD technical

  • AUD/USD tested support at 0.6639 earlier. Below, there is support at 0.6603.

  • 0.6712 and 0.6748 are the next resistance lines.

AUDUSD

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