AUD/USD fell 1.7 percent last week, its sharpest weekly decline since July. The pair dropped to its lowest level since March 2009. It is a busy schedule on the fundamental front, with twelve events this week. Here is an outlook at the highlights and an updated technical analysis for AUD/USD.
Australian and Chinese data was soft last week, which helped push the Aussie lower. Construction Work Done came in at -3.0%, marking a sixth successive decline. Capex spending was unexpectedly weak, as the 2.8% decline was much weaker than the estimate of a 0.5% gain. In China, the manufacturing PMI fell to 35.7, down from 50.0 a month earlier. The services PMI was even worse, falling from 54.1 to 29.6 points. These dismal readings are a result of the sharp decline in economic activity in China due to the coronavirus.
- AIG Manufacturing Index: Sunday, 21:30. The index has posted three successive readings below the 50-level, which indicates contraction in the manufacturing sector. Will we see any improvement in the upcoming release?
- MI Inflation Gauge: Monday, 0:00. The Melbourne Institute inflation gauge helps analysts track inflation on a monthly basis. The indicator has posted gains of 0.3% for the past two months. We now await the February release.
- Company Operating Profits: Monday, 0:30. Company earnings fell by 0.8% in Q3, missing the estimate of 1.0%. This was the first decline since 2017. Another decline is expected in Q4, with an estimate of -1.2%
- Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI: Monday, 1:45. The official manufacturing PMI slumped to 37.5, well off the estimate of 45.1 points. The catalyst for this slide is the coronavirus, which has caused the shutdown of much of China’s industrial sector. The Caixin manufacturing PMI estimate stands at 46.1 points. Will we see a very weak reading in February?
- Building Approvals: Tuesday, 0:30. Building Approvals continues to show sharp swings. In December, the indicator reversed directions and posted a decline of -0.2%. This beat the forecast of -5.0%. The estimate for January stands at 1.1%.
- Current Account: Tuesday, 0:30. Canada generally posts current account deficits, but has recorded two straight quarterly surpluses. In Q3, the surplus climbed to C$7.9 billion, up from $5.9 billion. A smaller surplus of $2.3 billion is projected for Q4.
- RBA Rate Decision: Tuesday, 3:30. With the China coronavirus taking its toll on the Australian economy, there is some pressure on the RBA to lower rates. The bank has held rates at 0.75% since October and analysts do not expect a cut at the upcoming meeting. A dovish rate statement could send AUD/USD to lower ground.
- AIG Construction Index: Tuesday, 21:30. The index remains mired in contraction territory, as the construction industry continues to struggle. The January reading came in at 41.3 and we now await the February data.
- GDP: Wednesday, 0:30. The economy gained 0.4% in Q3, little changed from the 0.5% gain in Q2. Another gain of 0.4% is expected in the fourth quarter.
- Trade Balance: Thursday, 0:30. Australia’s trade surplus fell to A$5.22 billion in December, down from A$5.80 a month earlier. The down trend is expected to continue in January, with an estimate of A$4.80 billion.
- AIG Services Index: Thursday, 21:30. The services index has slipped below the 50-level, which separates contraction from expansion. The January reading of 47.4 was the lowest reading since July. Will we see an improvement in the February release?
- Retail Sales: Friday, 0:30. This market-mover is the primary gauge of consumer spending. In December, retail sales fell by 0.5%, its first decline in five months.The January forecast stands at 0.0%.
AUD/USD Technical Analysis
Technical lines from top to bottom:
We begin with resistance at 0.6865 (mentioned last week).
0.6744 switched to a resistance role after strong losses by AUD/USD last week.
0.6627 is next.
0.6560 is an immediate resistance line.
0.6456 is providing support.
0.6380 has held in support since 2009.
0.6240 is the final support line for now.
I remain bearish on AUD/USD
The coronavirus continues to disrupt the global economy, especially in China and other Pacific countries, including Australia. With no signs that the virus will be contained anytime soon, the Aussie slide could continue into next week.
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