The Australian dollar remains pressured as global growth concerns intensify

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
  • The Australian dollar fell sharply on Friday, undermined by renewed concerns about the outlook for the global economy following weak data from China and Europe.
  • The AUD/USD has opened Monday’s session near the lowest level since early November, having shed 3% since December 4.
  • Australia’s mid-year budget update will be released today. It’s unlikely to generate much movement in the Aussie dollar.

The Australian dollar came under renewed selling pressure on Friday, undermined by renewed concerns over the outlook for global economic growth.

Very little has changed in early trade on Monday morning in Asia.

Here’s the scoreboard as at 7.40am in Sydney.

AUD/USD 0.7174 , -0.0002 , -0.03%
AUD/JPY 81.31 , -0.10 , -0.12%
AUD/CNH 4.9490 , -0.0027 , -0.05%
AUD/EUR 0.6346 , -0.0002 , -0.03%
AUD/GBP 0.5691 , -0.0009 , -0.16%
AUD/NZD 1.0550 , -0.0006 , -0.06%
AUD/CAD 0.9602 , -0.0005 , -0.05%

Having opened Friday at .7226, the AUD/USD came under immediate selling pressure following the release of weak Chinese industrial output and retail sales figures for November, heightening concerns about a slowdown in the Chinese economy.

Those concerns were amplified in Europe with IHS Markit’s Composite PMI tumbling to the lowest level in over four years, led by a particularly ugly result in France, the second-largest economy in the euro area behind Germany.

Despite the release of stronger-than-expected US economic data during the session, that was not enough to improve sentiment towards the broader global economic outlook, leading to widespread losses in stocks, commodities and growth-linked currencies, including the Aussie dollar.

The AUD/USD fell to as low as .7150, the weakest level since November 1. It finished Friday’s trading session at .7176, a level it continues to trade around in early Asian trade on Monday.

Investing.comAUD/USD Hourly Chart

Turning to the day ahead, it looks set to be a quiet one for traders — at least from an economic data perspective — with little in the way of market moving releases.

Australia’s government will release its mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) later today.

While it will attract plenty of headlines, markets are forward-looking in nature and an improvement in the budget bottom line has been well telegraphed for some time. Therefore, it’s unlikely to generate much movement in the Aussie.

“The Australian government’s 2018/19 Budget deficit was put at $A14.5 billion when published at budget time in May,” says Richard Grace, Chief Currency Strategist at the Commonwealth Bank.

“Using our simple budget model, the 2018/19 deficit should be revised to around $A0.1 billion. A small surplus is conceivable.

“The deficit is shrinking at the fastest pace in at least 25 years because of faster than expected inflow of revenue. Stronger company profits, higher commodity prices and a stronger jobs market have all helped.”

Outside of that release, there’s nothing else on the Asian calendar, likely leaving the performance of Chinese financial markets to dictate direction.

Later in the session, the main highlights will be trade and inflation figures from the eurozone along with the Empire State manufacturing index and NAHB home builder sentiment survey from the United States.

The latter two reports are forward-looking, and will likely attract plenty of attention among traders. They certainly did last month.

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