Search ForexCrunch
  • AUD/USD has climbed from lows of the day under 0.7500 towards current levels just under 0.7550, but still trades deeply in the red.
  • A large rally in Iron ore prices and improvement in the Sydney Covid-19 outbreak situation hasn’t helped AUD much.

AUD/USD has continued its recovery back towards the 0.7550 area after slipping beneath the 0.7500 level earlier on during the European morning session amid the market’s broad risk-off feel. But the pair still trades with losses of around 1.0% on the day in the 0.7530s, in fitting with a broad sense of anxiety regarding the spread of this new variant of Covid-19 in the UK which is said to be up to 70% more transmissible and has already resulted in large parts of the UK country returning to strict lockdown measures. Much of the world has already moved to isolate the UK in order to prevent the spread of the new mutant strain overseas, but it appears to already be too late in Europe, with cases being found in Italy.

The latest Covid-19 news, combined with continued deadlock on the Brexit negotiations front, has all fed into a mild USD recovery that has put the likes of AUD/USD under pressure. Note that the Dollar Index (DXY), has slipped from highs above 91.00 in recent trade back below 90.50, hence facilitating the above-mentioned recovery from lows in AUD/USD towards 0.7550.

Australia Covid-19 outbreak update

Australia already seems to be getting its own Covid-19 outbreak under control; 15 cases were reported in Sydney on Monday out of 38K tests conducted, compared to 30 on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases up to 83. Authorities warn that a one day drop in cases is not a cause for victory just yet, but things seem to be heading in the correct direction. Nonetheless, Australian states have begun enforcing entry bans on Sydney residents in a bid to keep the outbreak contained to New South Wales only.

At this stage, AUD has not been particularly reactive to the news of this latest outbreak. It is likely for any outbreak to have an effect on the Aussie, it would need to be on at least the scale of the outbreak in Victoria during the summer months when GDP growth was materially dented as the state went into lockdown for weeks and positive cases being found per day reached the 100s.

AUD ignores continued Iron Ore price surge

Another surge in the price of Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange during the Asia Pacific has done little to help AUD on the first trading day of the week, despite their usually strong positive correlation. Indeed, AUD/USD currently trades lower by roughly the same amount as NZD/USD, with both pairs down around 1.0% – strong performance in Iron ore prices would typically be associated with AUD outperformance over NZD.

The most active Iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, that for delivery in May 2021, rose 8.8% on Monday amid 1) supply concerns after a landslide at one of Vale’s mines and 2) news that China (the world’s biggest Iron Ore consumer) is to target 8% real GDP growth in 2021 and 3) upbeat forecasts from a Chinese government research body that predicted Iron Ore demand would be up 9.2% in 2020.

Sticking with the topic of key Australian commodity exports; the FT reported over the weekend that the ongoing Chinese embargo of Australian coal is causing power rationing in China, with factories having to reduce working hours and office workers being forced to climb the stairs of high-rise buildings. Chinese officials intent to “punish” Australia amid their ongoing diplomatic spat may soon feel the pressure to balance politics with the energy needs of the mainland.