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The  Australian dollar was down  almost 100 pips against the dollar, although it did manage to break through the 1.08 level during the week. The  upcoming week has six releases.  Here is an outlook for the Australian events, and an updated technical analysis for AUD/USD.

The central bank surprised the markets last week by maintaining interest rates at 4.25%. The  markets had predicted a 0.25% cut, which would have likely pushed the aussie downwards.

Updates: Australian home loans surprised by rising 2.3%, better than expected. Also last month’s number was revised to the upside. AUD/USD is at 1.0735. Australian NAB Business Confidence ticked up to 4 points. Yet the  doubts about the deal for Greece  help the greenback and push AUD/USD under 1.07.  Westpac Consumer Sentiment rose by 4.2% and helped the Aussie move higher, back around 1.0750. It topped out at 1.0775, and not for the first time. Australia enjoyed a big jump in jobs: 46.3K and an even more surprising drop in the unemployment rate to 5.1%. Nevertheless, the situation in Greece deteriorated  and the US is not that close to QE3. The pair remains in range, around 1.07. The  upcoming deal for Greece  raised the appetite for risk and AUD/USD touched 1.08 before bouncing lower.

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

  1. Home Loans:  Monday, 00:30. This  leading indicator measures demand in  the housing  sector. The  indicator rose in January by 1.4%, easily beating the market forecast of 1%.  This was the fifth consecutive reading in positive territory, and another increase would be welcome news for the housing sector.
  2. NAB Business Confidence:  Tuesday,00:30. The indicator rose to 3 last month, its best reading since December 2010. This is a good sign  of  confidence in the Austalian  economy, and talk of a recession in 2010  may have been premature.  Another strong reading this month  would be bullish for  the aussie.
  3. Westpac Consumer Sentiment:  Tuesday,  23:30. This important consumer indicator is  quite volatile, resulting in market forecasts that are often well off the mark. After a sharp contraction in  December of 8.3%,  the indicator bounced back last month,  rising by 2.4%. Will the indicator record another increase for February?
  4. New Motor Vehicle Sales:  Wednesday, 00:30.  This indicator was a major disappointment in January. The indicator contracted by 2.9%, its worst reading since June 2011. Another drop this month would represent the third consecutive decrease in new car sales.
  5. MI Inflation Expectations: Thursday, 0:00.  For most of Q2 and Q3 in 2011,  inflation hovered between 2.5% and 3%. The January reading came in at 2.5%, and  no significant movement is expected  for the February reading.
  6. Employment Change:  Thursday, 0:030. This indicator is capable of wild swings, with a reading in October 2011 of 20.3K, compared to a terrible figure of -29.3K  last month.  The markets are optimistic for February, predicting a rise in employed individuals of 10.9K. The unemployment rate has held steady at around a healthy 5.3%, and no change is expected this month.

AUD/USD  opened at 1.0751.It  climbed as high as 1.0844, as the strong resistance line of 1.0884 (discussed last week)  held firm.  The  dollar then strengthened, as the pair dropped to a low of 1.0640. The pair  closed the week at 1.0659.

Technical levels from top to bottom:

We begin with the resistance line of 1.1090, which was last tested in August of 2011. Next is 1.1009, just above the psychologically important level of 1.10. This  is  followed by strong resistance at 1.0884. Below, 1.0750 is an important line which was breached this week but is still providing weak resistance to the pair.  This is followed by 1.0610, a weak support line.   It could be tested on a further downswing by AUD/USD. Below, is the round number of  1.05, which  served as support in May and  June and has now resumed that role. It is followed by the 1.0383 line, which  had recently served as strong resistance, and now is acting in a support role.

The round number of 1.03 was severely  tested  in  January, but has now become a major support level as the aussie continues to reach new heights. Next is the support line of 1.0250. This is  followed  by 1.02, a major support level. Below, 1.0080 is  providing support, protecting the all-important parity level.  Finally, strong support is seen at  the round number of  0.99.

I am  bullish  on AUD/USD.

Although the Australian dollar retracted slightly against its US counterpart, the pair did break the significant 1.08 level this week,  signalling that there  may  be well be some steam left in the  aussie’s recent rally against the  greenback. Economic indicators in Australia are mixed, but, for now at least, traders seem to be happy sticking with the Aussie.

Further reading: