• AUD/USD hovers at 0.6533, with US economic strength and upcoming PCE Price Index release setting the tone.
  • Recent US durable goods orders exceed expectations, but consumer confidence dips slightly in the face of inflation concerns.
  • As Fed officials express divergent views on rate cuts, market eyes turn to Australian CPI data for further direction.

The Aussie Dollar remains flatlines against the US Dollar as Wednesday’s Asian session begins. On Tuesday, the AUD/USD pair, reached a daily high of 0.6559 before retreating 0.11%. At the time of writing, the pair trades at 0.6533 virtually unchanged.

Aussie Dollar steadies as traders digest US durable goods data and brace for key inflation indicators

Wall Street ended the session with losses as a late risk-off impulse sent US equities lower. Traders are bracing for the release of the US Federal Reserve's preferred gauge for inflation, the Core Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) Price Index, which is expected to slow from 0.4% to 0.3% MoM and increase from 2.4% to 2.5% in the twelve months to February.

Meanwhile, AUD/USD traders were entertained by the release of the US Durable Goods Orders for February. Readings came at 1.4% Month over Month, exceeding forecasts of 1.1% and January’s -0.9% plunge. The core Durable Goods Orders stood at 0.4% Month over Month, up from -0.3% and above the consensus of 0.4%.

Other data revealed by the Conference Board (CB) showed that Consumer Confidence was steady in March, yet it ticked down to 104.7 from 104.8, a downward revision from the previous month. The survey showed Americans blaming higher prices and soaring borrowing costs.t

The Greenback was underpinned throughout the session, weighing on most G8 Forex currencies, including the Aussie Dollar (AUD). The US Dollar Index (DXY), which tracks the performance of a basket of currencies against the buck, rose 0.07% to 104.29.

Fed speakers divided

The lack of Federal Reserve officials crossing the wires on Tuesday, left traders adrifr to Monday-s speeches. Atlanta’s Fed Raphael Bostic stated the foresees just one cut, instead of 2 for 2024. Meanwhile, Lisa D. Cook added that easing policy too soon increases the risk of inflation becoming entrenched.

Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee expects three cuts on the dovish spectrum, though he says he needs more evidence of inflation “coming down.”

Australia’s inflation in focus

AS the Asian session commences, traders are eyeing the release of Australia’s inflation. The consensus is for February’s monthly CPI to be 3.4%.

 

Australian Dollar FAQs

One of the most significant factors for the Australian Dollar (AUD) is the level of interest rates set by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Because Australia is a resource-rich country another key driver is the price of its biggest export, Iron Ore. The health of the Chinese economy, its largest trading partner, is a factor, as well as inflation in Australia, its growth rate and Trade Balance. Market sentiment – whether investors are taking on more risky assets (risk-on) or seeking safe-havens (risk-off) – is also a factor, with risk-on positive for AUD.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) influences the Australian Dollar (AUD) by setting the level of interest rates that Australian banks can lend to each other. This influences the level of interest rates in the economy as a whole. The main goal of the RBA is to maintain a stable inflation rate of 2-3% by adjusting interest rates up or down. Relatively high interest rates compared to other major central banks support the AUD, and the opposite for relatively low. The RBA can also use quantitative easing and tightening to influence credit conditions, with the former AUD-negative and the latter AUD-positive.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner so the health of the Chinese economy is a major influence on the value of the Australian Dollar (AUD). When the Chinese economy is doing well it purchases more raw materials, goods and services from Australia, lifting demand for the AUD, and pushing up its value. The opposite is the case when the Chinese economy is not growing as fast as expected. Positive or negative surprises in Chinese growth data, therefore, often have a direct impact on the Australian Dollar and its pairs.

Iron Ore is Australia’s largest export, accounting for $118 billion a year according to data from 2021, with China as its primary destination. The price of Iron Ore, therefore, can be a driver of the Australian Dollar. Generally, if the price of Iron Ore rises, AUD also goes up, as aggregate demand for the currency increases. The opposite is the case if the price of Iron Ore falls. Higher Iron Ore prices also tend to result in a greater likelihood of a positive Trade Balance for Australia, which is also positive of the AUD.

The Trade Balance, which is the difference between what a country earns from its exports versus what it pays for its imports, is another factor that can influence the value of the Australian Dollar. If Australia produces highly sought after exports, then its currency will gain in value purely from the surplus demand created from foreign buyers seeking to purchase its exports versus what it spends to purchase imports. Therefore, a positive net Trade Balance strengthens the AUD, with the opposite effect if the Trade Balance is negative.

 

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