After strengthening against the yen following the election of Trump and continuing its ascent in early 2017, AUD/JPY ran out of steam. Since then the pair has traded with no obvious long-term trend. The exchange rate has fallen on political risks (particularly North Korea), while gaining when tensions subside. For this reason, the AUD/JPY exchange rate is frequently seen a barometer of global risk appetite.
The Australian dollar is currently selling off sharply, and is weaker against all major currencies. AUD is currently the weakest against the US dollar. Yesterday, AUD/USD failed to strengthen despite broad strength in the US dollar. The currency remains in a firmly bearish trend as Chinese GDP growth decelerates while the Reserve Bank of Australia remains on hold.
There are no significant news headlines from Australia today, as the country is on holiday for ANZAC Day. Instead, the Australian dollar is selling off as risk sentiment worsens. Following yesterday's stock market sell-off during US trading hours, Chinese equity markets are lower today. China-sensitive commodities, such as industrial metal prices, are also falling sharply today. As we have written before, rising bond yields are hurting asset prices thanks to decelerating global growth. While rising yields have had a limited impact on riskier investments in the past, investors are reluctant to chase risky investments today thanks to the worsening outlook for growth this year. Our short-term outlook and medium-term outlook on the Australian dollar remains bearish.
AUD/USD is down and trading just above 0.7570. EUR/AUD is up slightly and trading above 1.610. GBP/AUD is up slightly and trading above 1.8410.
Turning to economic data and events from Australia this week, traders will be watching upcoming inflation figures. RBA Assistant Governor Kent downplayed fears regarding interest-only mortgages. The Q1 consumer price index (1.9% vs. 2.0% expected) was below expectations, while the RBA’s trimmed mean CPI (1.9% vs. 1.8% expected) was ahead of expectations. On Thursday, we’ll see the export and import price index for Q1. On Friday, we’ll see producer prices for Q1. Last week, changes in employment missed expectations.
The Japanese yen is mostly lower today, and is selling off against all major currencies except the Australian dollar and the euro. Yesterday, the currency weakened alongside rising bond yields. Looking at USD/JPY, the pair managed to close higher despite overall weakness in the US dollar and a significant sell-off in the S&P 500 during US trading hours. While USD/JPY tends to track risk sentiment, the yen has become more sensitive to bond yields in recent times.
With limited news headlines and developments from Japan, the yen is mostly trading as a function of bond yields. As Japanese 10-year bond yields are fixed around 0% by the Bank of Japan, the difference between US and Japanese yields is just under 3% (as US 10-year bonds are currently yielding around 3%). While higher US yields have failed to weaken the yen in the past, interest rates have been driving currency markets since late March. As we have written before, this is because slowing global growth is reducing optimism for riskier investments. In the past, investors ignored rising US yields and chased investments such as technology and emerging market stocks. Today, rising US bond yields are hurting asset values as global growth decelerates. Our short-term outlook on the yen is bearish, while our medium-term outlook is neutral.
USD/JPY is currently trading above 109.20. EUR/JPY is currently up slightly and trading above 133.20.
Looking at Japanese economic data and events this week, the Bank of Japan’s upcoming meeting will be watched closely. The March Nikkei manufacturing PMI (53.3 vs. 52.6 expected) was ahead of expectations. The leading economic index for February (106 vs. 105.8 expected) was ahead of expectations. The All Industry Activity Index for February (0.4%) met expectations. Tomorrow, we’ll see foreign investment in Japanese equities and Japanese investment in foreign bonds. On Friday, the most important day, we’ll get the latest interest rate decision from the Bank of Japan, its outlook report and a press conference. We’ll also see the Tokyo consumer price index for April, the unemployment rate for March and March household spending. Finally, we’ll get March industrial production, and March retail sales, and March housing starts.
As the pair trades sideways, we are now neutral on AUD/JPY. The pair is trading within a normal range in the short-term. This is based on various technical indicators looking at a daily chart.
As the pair weakens, we are now bearish on AUD/JPY. Looking at various technical indicators, the pair is now trading within normal conditions. This is based on various technical indicators looking at a weekly chart.
We take a closer look at the Australian dollar forecast, and how domestic and international economic changes are set to impact the currency. From China's slow down to key domestic indicators that reveal slowing growth, we break down why we're changing our outlook on this commodity currency.
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