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The  Australian dollar  lost some ground against the US dollar last week,  closing just below the 1.07 level.   The  upcoming week is quite busy,  with  nine  releases.  Here is an outlook for the Australian events, and an updated technical analysis for AUD/USD.

The US economy continues to march in the right direction, which is positive news for the US dollar. Jobless claims have been dropping, pointing to  some  improvement in the employment market.

Updates: The AUD/USD continues to show some movement, as it trades  slightly below the 1.07 level. Retail sales, building approvals, and Chinese Manufacturing PMI are the important upcoming releases. AUD/USD climbed but couldn’t break above 1.08. Worries about Greece and Ireland hurt the pair. See how to trade the Australian retail sales with AUD/USD.  Negative housing and construction  figures indicate contraction in these sectors. Despite this, the aussie is sitting comfortably at 1.0830.  AUD/USD briefly broke out of range, climbing as`high as 1.0856 before retreating to the 1.0750 level.

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

  1. HIA New Home Sales:  Wednesday, publication time tentative. This indicator provides important information about activity in the housing sector as well as consumer spending and confidence in the economy. The indicator contracted sharply last month, dropping by 4.9%, its worst reading since August 2011. Another contraction in the February reading will no doubt spell trouble for the weak  housing industry.
  2. Retail Sales:  Wednesday,  00:30. Retail sales continue to be weak, with the indicator dropping by 0.2% in January.  This reading disappointed the markets, which had predicted an increase of 0.2%.  Will the index bounce back into positive territory this month?
  3. Construction Work Done:  Wednesday,00:30.  This  indicator is released quarterly, and provides analysts with a snapshot of activity in the construction industry. The indicator was sizzling hot back in November, posting an incredible 12.5% increase. The markets  clearly  feel this was  a one-time anomaly, as  February’s prediction is for a contraction of 0.6%.  Will  the indicator  again prove the markets wrong?
  4. Private Sector Credit: Wednesday, 00:30. This indicator, released quarterly,  measures  credit being  issued to businesses and consumers.  The indicator has risen by a modest 0.3% for the past two months, and the markets are predicting the same reading in February.
  5. AIG Manufacturing Index: Wednesday, 22:30. This index, based on a survey of manufacturers, has steadily risen for the past five months,  climbing over  the important 50 level. Will the upward trend continue this month?
  6. Building Approvals: Thursday, 00:30. The indicator is extremely volatile, making accurate market forecasts difficult. After a 1.0% contraction in January, the market prediction is for a healthy 2.1% increase in February.
  7. Private Capital Expenditure: Thursday, 00:30. Private Capital Expenditure, released each quarter, provides important information regarding activity  in  the  private business sector.  After a stellar reading last November of 12.5%, the market are predicting a respectable increase of 3.9% this month.
  8. Chinese Manufacturing PMI: Thursday, 1:00. Traders should pay attention to this index, as China is Australia’s most important trading partner. The index has hovered just over the 50 level for the past two months, indicating very slight expansion in the manufacturing industry. The forecast for February is unchanged.
  9. Commodity Prices: Thursday, 5:30. Commodity prices play an important role in the value of the Australian dollar, as higher commodity prices means foreigners are purchasing more Australian dollars. The index has been on a worrying downswing since 2010, recording just a 6% increase in January.  This was the lowest figure in almost two years, and reflects the global downturn which has severely affected the export sector. Lower commodity prices  are bearish for the aussie.

AUD/USD  opened at 1.0799.  After  touching 1.0801, its high for the  week, it retreated from the resistance line of 1.08 (discussed last week)  and dropped sharply. The pair fell below 1.06, to a low of 1.0597.  The pair made up some of these losses, closing the week at 1.0693.

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. The important level of 1.08 was breached this week, but is still providing weak resistance to the pair. Below, the 1.0750 continues to be tested, and could fall on a further upswing by the pair. This is followed by 1.0650, which is a weak line of support.   Next is the support line of 1.0585, which was tested earlier this month and approached by AUD/USD this week. 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  has acted as a support level since January.

The round number of 1.03 was severely  tested  in  January, but has now become a major support level as the aussie continues to stay strong against the US dollar. 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 bearish  on AUD/USD.

AUD/USD made some breakout moves downwards this week, and briefly punched across the 1.06 level. With most of the economic indicators pointing to a weak Australian economy, the aussie will be hard pressed to hold its own against the greenback. Additionally, the global downturn continues to weigh on the Australian dollar.

Further reading:

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