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After three straight weeks in the red, AUD/USD was unchanged last week. The upcoming week is busy and investors will be keeping a close look at retail sales and the RBA rate decision. Here is an outlook for the highlights of this week and an updated technical analysis for AUD/USD.

China remains gripped in a slowdown, which is bad news for Australia, as the Asian giant is China’s largest trading partner. Chinese manufacturing PMI dropped to 50.1 in April, pointing to stagnation. Building approvals swung wildly, falling 15.5% in March, after a gain of 19.1% a month earlier.

In the U.S, the Federal Reserve stayed on the sidelines, maintaining the benchmark rate. The rate statement noted that inflation pressures are muted and that the FOMC would remain patient regarding future rate movements. Fed Chair Jerome Powell reinforced this stance at a follow-up press conference, saying “we don’t see a strong case for moving in either direction”. The Fed is already on record as saying it does not expect to raise rates before 2020, and with inflation levels persistently below the Fed’s target of 2.0%, the Fed can afford to continue its wait-and-see stance.

AUD/USD daily graph with support and resistance lines on it. Click to enlarge:

  1. MI Inflation Gauge: Monday, 1:00. This indicator provides a monthly look at inflation, as the official CPI release is provided on a quarterly basis. The indicator improved to 0.4% in March, its highest gain in three months.
  2. ANZ Job Advertisements: Monday, 1:30. The Australian and New Zealand Banking Group continues to post declines and came in at -1.7% in March.
  3. Chinese Caixin Services PMI: Monday, 1:45. Chinese data can have a strong impact on the direction of AUD/USD, as Australia is China’s largest trading partner. The PMI climbed to 54.4 in March, and the estimate for April stands at 54.3. These scores point to modest expansion.
  4. AIG Construction Index: Monday, 22:30. The Australian Industry Group survey continues to post readings below the 50-level, which points to contraction. The indicator improved to 45.6 in March, its highest reading since October.
  5. Retail Sales: Tuesday, 1:30. Retail sales is the primary gauge of consumer spending. After an excellent gain of 0.8% in February, March is expected to be much softer, with an estimate of 0.2%.
  6. Trade Balance: Tuesday, 1:30. Australia’s trade surpluses have been getting larger, and the February surplus of A$4.80 billion easily beat the forecast of A$3.71 billion. The March estimate stands at A$4.49 billion.
  7. Rate Decision: Tuesday, 4:30. The markets have priced in a 0.25% cut by the RBA, which would reduce the benchmark rate to 1.25%. The bank has maintained the rate at 1.50% for over three years, so a cut will likely send the Aussie lower. Investors will also be keeping an eye on the rate statement.
  8. RBA Monetary Policy Statement: Friday, 1:30. This quarterly release will be especially interesting if the RBA lowers rates earlier in the week. It provides a broader view of the economy than the short rate statement. A dovish policy statement would be bearish for the Australian dollar.

*All times are GMT

AUD/USD Technical Analysis

Technical lines from top to bottom:

We start with resistance at 0.7480. This marked the high point of the pair in mid-July and defends the round 0.75 level.

The round number of 0.74 was the high point reached at the wake of December. This is followed by 0.7340, which the pair breached in late November.

0.7315 was a swing high seen in late September. Further down, 0.7240 separated ranges in September and in October.

0.7190 is next.

Close by, 0.7165 (mentioned last week) was a swing low after a recovery in mid-November.

0.7085 was a low point in September.

0.6988 marked the low point in April.

Below, 0.6825 supported the pair in late 2016 and early 2017.

0.6744 was a low point in January.

0.6686 was an important cap back in January 2000. It is the final support line for now.

I remain bearish on AUD/USD

The global trade war has taken a toll on the Australian economy, and the markets are betting that the RBA will respond with a rate cut in order to stimulate the economy. Lower rates will make the Aussie less attractive to investors. As well, a soft retail sales release could weigh on the Aussie.

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