The Australian dollar surges as Trump and Xi reach a temporary trade truce

Jason Childs/Getty Images
  • The Australian dollar has surged to the highest level since mid-August in early trade on Monday.
  • A temporary trade truce struck between the United States and China last weekend is the catalyst behind the move, although many strategists are sceptical as to whether it will last beyond the short-term.
  • The economic data calendar is stacked today, both at home and abroad.

The Australian dollar has surged upon the resumption of trade on Monday morning, boosted by a temporary trade truce struck by the US and China over the weekend.

Here’s the scoreboard at 7.50am in Sydney.

AUD/USD 0.7379
AUD/JPY 83.98
AUD/CNH 5.1277
AUD/EUR 0.6494
AUD/GBP 0.5775
AUD/NZD 1.0665
AUD/CAD 0.9721

At .7379, the AUD/USD currently sits at the highest level since the middle of August, having jumped nearly 1% from Friday’s closing level.

It has also gained against all of the major crosses — including the offshore traded yuan — reflecting that many traders were using the Aussie as a proxy for US and China trade tensions.

While the Aussie has surged in thin trade this morning in Asia, Westpac’s FX strategy team says it’s uncertain as to how long the move will last given “this outcome was more or less priced in”.

“The thaw in US-China trade tensions should give risk appetite a short term boost early next week — commodities, equities, emerging markets and growth sensitive currencies like AUD and NZD should all see fresh support early in the week,” they said.

“Deeply contentious thornier structural issues such as forced technology transfer remain unresolved too.

“This US-China agreement is thus better characterised as a ‘mini-breakthrough’ that puts a momentary pause on trade tensions rather than a comprehensive policy agreement.”

Like Westpac’s FX strategy team, Joseph Capurso, Senior Currency Strategist at the Commonwealth Bank, is sceptical the moves seen this morning will be the start of a longer-lasting trend.

“[The] US dollar can fall further over the next day or two in reaction to the Presidents meeting, nut we are not optimistic of a speedy resolution of their trade frictions,” he says.

“If no deal is reached within 90 days, the US will increase the tariff rate on $US200 billion of imports from China from 10% to 25%.

“Therefore, we expect the USD to unwind its losses by the end of the week.”

Thomson Reuters

While movements in the Aussie on Monday will be driven by sentiment towards the temporary trade truce, being the start of the month, there is a raft of major economic data scheduled for release both at home and abroad.

In Australia, markets will receive the Ai Group’s Performance of Manufacturing Index for November at 8.30am AEDT. That will be followed by CoreLogic’s Home Value Index at 10am AEDT along with Q3 company profits, ANZ job ads and building approvals data at 11.30am AEDT.

Regionally, manufacturing PMI reports will dominate with figures from China, Japan, South Korea and India or set to be released, providing markets with another chance to gauge what impact trade tensions have had on activity levels across the Asian region last month.

PMI reports will also be release in European and North American trade, headlined by ISM report from the United States. Given PMIs are regarded as lead economic indicators, and concerns about the outlook for the US economy have grown in recent weeks, this report carries the potential to generate short-term volatility in the second half of the session.

Other highlights during the session also include Eurozone investor sentiment along with US construction spending and new vehicle sales.

On the central bank front, we’ll hear from Brainard and Kaplan from the US Fed along with Andy Haldane from the BoE.

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