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The  Australian dollar  showed upward movement against the dollar to begin the year, climbing close to the 1.04 level, before retreating to end the week with almost no change. The upcoming week is busy, with five indicators being released. Here is an outlook for the Australian events, and an updated technical analysis for AUD/USD.

Updates: The Australian dollar was hit by a weak retail sales report – sales didn’t grow during the previous month. After the initial fall, AUD/USD rose on European strength and reconquered 1.02. The Australian dollar enjoyed a leap of 8.4% in building approval – more than expected. Also the high Chinese trade balance surplus helps.

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

  1. AIG Construction Index:  Sunday, 22:22. The  index was up last month, but it has been below 40 since March 2011, indicating sustained contraction in the construction sector. These poor figures seem set to continue into 2012.
  2. HIA New Home Sales:  Sunday, publication time unknown. This indicator tends to be volatile, and the market forecasts are well off the mark more often than not. The previous reading was up sharply to 5.5%, the index’s best performance since May 2010. Will the index be able to stay in positive territory as we start 2012?
  3. Retail Sales:  Monday,  00:30. This important consumer indicator has been in positive territory since August, but dipped to 0.2% last month. The forecast for the January reading stands at 0.4%. If the indicator can meet or beat the forecast, this will be good news for the economy.
  4. Building Approvals:  Tuesday, 00:30. It would be hard to find an indicator with the extreme volatility which characterizes the Buildings Approval indicator. As a result, the market forecasts are rarely anywhere near the actual readings, and of limited value to traders. The December reading was a dismal -13.6%, way below the forecast of 3.6%. Despite this, the markets are still optimistic, with this month’s forecast even higher, at 6.3%. Will the index rebound and rise into positive territory?
  5. Chinese CPI:  Thursday 1:30. Inflation figures in China are always important, as China is Australia’s most important trading partner. The indicator has fallen for four consecutive readings, indicating a slowing of economic growth and less demand for foreign goods. The forecast is for a further drop in the indicator this month.  

* All the times are GMT.

AUD/USD Technical Analysis

AUD/USD  opened the week at 1.0222,  and started the week by dropping below the 1.02 level (discussed  last week), before rebounding sharply, climbing  to 1.0386.    The pair then gave practically all of these gains, closing the week at 1.0217.

Technical levels from top to bottom:

We begin with the round number of 1.0733, which  is strong resistance. Next is the round number of  1.05, which  served as support in May and  June, and is now in a  resistance role.  Below is 1.0450, which was last tested in November and is a line of strong resistance.    This is followed by the round number of 1.04, which was tested by the pair this week, and may be fall on an upswing. The next line of major resistance is at 1.0336.  After serving as an important line of    resistance in December, the level of 1.02 now is serving as weak support. new year.  The very round number of parity is now providing support, although it is too early to tell how long this will last. Next is 0.9890, a weak support line. 0.9810 is  now  providing  strong support to the pair. Strong support for the aussie can be seen at 0.9660, as well as the round number of 0.95, which was breached  only once in 2011. The final support level for now is at 0.9376.

I am  neutral  on AUD/USD

The US economy continues to gain steam, which should push AUD/USD downwards. However,  the  aussie made a strong move towards 1.04 this week, parity this week, showing that it can hold its own against the greenback.

Further reading:

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