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The Aussie flexed its muscles late last week, as AUD/USD posted strong gains of 1.7 percent.  The upcoming week has five events, including key employment releases.  Here is an outlook at the highlights and an updated technical analysis for AUD/USD.

Australian numbers were mixed last week. The Melbourne Inflation Gauge showed a decline of 0.1% in April, down from +0.2 percent. The construction sector is struggling, as AIG Construction Index fell to 21.6, down sharply from 37.9 points. A reading below the 50-level indicates contraction. There was good news on the consumer front, as retail sales climbed 8.5% in March, as “panic buying” was triggered by the lockdown. The RBA maintained rates at 0.25%, as expected. In the rate statement, policymakers acknowledged the severe economic conditions but sounded hopeful that a global recovery will start later in the year.

In the U.S., factory orders fell by 10.3% in March, after a flat 0.0% reading a month earlier. April job numbers were dismal. Unemployment claims came in at 3.16 million, down from 3.8 million a week earlier. This brings the running total to a staggering 33.4 million. Nonfarm payrolls dropped by a record 20.5 million in April, slightly below the estimate of 22.4 million. The unemployment rate jumped to 14.7%, up from 4.4% a month earlier. Still, this beat the forecast of 16.0 percent. There was some good news, as wage growth shot up 4.7%, crushing the estimate of 0.5 percent.
AUD/USD daily graph with support and resistance lines on it. Click to enlarge:
  1. NAB Business Confidence: Monday, 21:30. Business confidence evaporated in March, as the National Australia Bank indicator plunged to -66 points. This points to sharp pessimism about economic conditions. Will we see any improvement in the April data?
  2. Westpac Consumer Sentiment: Tuesday, 20:30. Consumer confidence nosedived in April, with a dismal reading of -17.7 percent. Consumers are clearly worried as the economy buckles under the strain of Covid-19 and are holding tightly to their purse strings.
  3. Wage Price Index: Tuesday, 21:30. Wage growth is one of the most important employment indicators. The index rose by 0.5% in Q4 of 2019 and an identical gain is projected for Q1 of 2020.
  4. MI Inflation Expectations: Wednesday, 21:00. This Melbourne Institute indicator is closely watched, as inflation expectations can translate into actual inflation figures. The indicator climbed 4.6% in March, up from 4.0% in the previous release. We now await the March data.
  5. Australian Jobs Report: Thursday, 1:30. Analysts are bracing for disastrous job numbers for April, as the lockdown has left millions of employees unable to work. The economy is expected to shed a staggering 550 thousand jobs, while the unemployment rate, which came in at 5.2% in March, is expected to soar to 8.3 percent. If the employment numbers are within expectations, the Aussie will likely lose ground.


AUD/USD Technical Analysis

Technical lines from top to bottom:

0.6825 supported the pair in late 2016 and early 2017.

0.6744 was a low point in January.

0.6627 has held in resistance since early March.  0.6560 is next.

0.6456 remains relevant and is the next resistance line.

0.6380 (mentioned  last week) is an immediate support level. It could see further action early in the week.

0.6240 is next.

0.6150, which has provided support since early April, is the final support level for now.



I am neutral on AUD/USD

The Australian economy is in a deep downturn, but the Aussie still had an excellent March, with gains of over 6 percent. Still, investors will be thinking twice before buying risk assets like the Australian dollar.

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