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Is the Aussie priced correctly? RBA decision expected this week

Australia's Interest rate Decision-day is this Thursday, 6 April. What will the RBA do with the rate, you ask? The consensus is that the rate will remain at 0.1%.

Inflation in Aussie is trending upwards, recovering from 2020 lockdowns, but was sitting at sub-1% last time I checked. The interest rate will most certainly not increase with inflation so low and lockdowns ongoing (Brisbane just completed a snap three-day lockdown last week).

RBA governor Philip Lowe has previously noted that 0.25% was the lower bound with which the bank was comfortable and thought effective. But unprecedented times called for unprecedented measures, and here we are, at 0.1%. In the upcoming announcement, could Mr. Lowe again revise the bank's position on what is an effective rate, and scramble to lower the rate again? Is there any point in going to 0.075% or lower?

Rather than touch the interest rate, my best guess is that the RBA will increase the spending for asset purchases to AU$300 billion, up from the current AU$200 billion.

As we move closer to the RBA's interest rate decision, a question I have is whether the market has priced in a potential increase in the RBA quantitative easing budget?

Let us take a look at some AUD pairs and the movements over the past few months for good measure.

AUDUSD

The AUD has weakened against the USD over the past few months. Some significant bearish candles occurred in late February to middle-March, leading into a price consolation in the range US$0.760. The big bearish tail that was rejected on April 1 possibly indicates there is some selling pressure lying dormant. The Interest rate announcement on Thursday might be a catalyst to provoke the AUD sellers again.

AUDUSD

EURAUD

The AUD has strengthened against the EUR all year. In March, indecision was rife in the pair, with bullish EUR sentiment testing higher prices against the AUD but not finding much support. Instead, the AUD claimed ground incrementally until late March, where some gains were erased with a reversal. By the end of last week’s trading, bullish EUR sentiment built some momentum but pushed too hard by the 31st. The AUD settled at 1.54425 per EUR after pulling back a touch with a nicely balanced candle last week.

EURAUD

This week ahead: Interest Rate Decisions, GDP

We have a relatively fair number of economic events this week ahead. However, they are relatively significant in their effect on the financial markets and further fundamental guidance.

We've seen risk-on in currency markets recently, with many pairs against the U.S Dollar rallying on confidence that the economy will fare better in 2021. GBP/USD. Broke 1.40, while NZD/USD and AUD/USD both broke 0.78 and 0.73, respectively. Oil has been rallying on supply restriction due to middle east tensions and the snowstorm currently taking over Texas. Here is your week ahead.

Monday, 22nd February – People's Republic of China's Interest Rate Decision

PBoC's 1-Year Interest Rate Decision

With China stomping the virus faster than any country, their road to recovery has been patchy. With a couple of flare-ups in community transmission similar to that of New Zealand, China acted swiftly to secure the cases, ready emergency and hospital units, and shut the Coronavirus. With their economic recovery fully underway, Yi Gang has stated that China's central will not "prematurely" exit from its supportive monetary policies. "Looking forward, I think our monetary policy will continue" and that "we will keep a delicate balance between supporting the economic recovery, at the same time, preventing risk."

With the strength and the interest in the Chinese Yuan skyrocketing in 2020, the PBOC will introduce some measures to bring down the Yuan's strength as it is fundamental to their exports. With that said, analysts predict the PBOC to lower the headline 1-year rate from 3.85%.

Monday, 22nd February and Wednesday, 24th February – NZ Retail Sales & Reserve Bank of New Zealand

RBNZ's Interest Rate Decisions

With strict lockdowns imposed earlier in 2020, New Zealand has stomped the virus, China has, and life for its citizens has returned to a relative normal. With a flare-up in Auckland's community cases last week, Auckland was put in a snap lockdown for three days for the government to assess the situation. They had come out of that lockdown after the three days but still face social distancing and capacity constraints in level 2.

However, with the domestic economy has been in full swing before the snap lockdown, analysts predict retail sales to stay healthy at 26.7% growth, slightly lower from the 28% growth the previous quarter.

REINZ Housing Report January 2021

Regarding the RBNZ's interest rate decision, the mandate for the central bank of New Zealand is like many other central banks: Employment and Price Stability. A mandate they do not have is the control of house prices. However, with house prices skyrocketing almost 20% the past year, there has been pressure from politicians and analysts for the RBNZ to implement pricing controls.

The bank has reinstated loan-to-value ratios from first home buyers and investors, requiring investors to front up 40% of the house price as a deposit when purchasing a house, stating that the initial removal of LVR's has done its job.

The initial optimism on negative rates has subsided on the New Zealand economy's incredible bounce bank. Many banks are now rescinding their calls on negative rates, with banks such as ANZ calling a 15-basis point cut from 0.25% to 0.1%. ANZ's economists stated that "If the housing market and domestic economy maintains momentum well into autumn, the RBNZ will not cut again at all." However, they further stated that "If Covid-19 returns to our shores in a significant way, a negative OCR will once more be game on."

Tuesday, 23rd February – U.K's Unemployment Rate

United Kingdom's vaccination program is leading the charge for their recovery. With their seven-day average way down from all-time highs, the start of the recovery is near for the United Kingdom. Nearly 18 million people in the United Kingdom had received at least one Coronavirus Vaccine dose, around 27 doses per 100 people. These were aimed at citizens aged 70 and higher, alongside healthcare workers, who have accounted for 88% of the United Kingdom's Coronavirus deaths. Analysts predict
the 3-month rolling unemployment rate to rise slightly from 5% to 5.1% this week ahead.

Thursday, 25th February – U.S' GDP 4th Quarter

Like that of the United Kingdom, the vaccine has led the charge for the recovery in the United States. Seven-day averages are nearly three months now, with over 61 million doses of the vaccine, or around 18.6 doses per 100 people. With Jerome Powell continuing to pledge his unwavering support for the American economy, alongside an optimistic 1.9 trillion-dollar stimulus, the potential for a rebound in the U.S economy may be on its way. Analysts predict a slight nudge higher in GDP growth at the end of the 4th quarter, up 0.1% to 4.1%, compared to 4% in the previous quarter.

A light week ahead events-wise. However, the events are heavy. Stay say, and trade safe.

Week ahead - Central banks, CPI's

With the new strain of the Coronavirus causing concern across the world, many countries that continue to battle the Coronavirus hope that the vaccine gives them a head start before the strain does any more damage. This week will also see a new President take office, Democrat Joe Biden, on the 20th January US Local time. Here is your week ahead.

President Elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated on the 20th January 2021.

Monday, 18th January – China's Retail Sales and GDP

It seems like China was on their home run. Cases were initially squashed due to their strict lockdown earlier in 2020. The vaccine's advancement last year was the final factor in cementing China's success against the virus. However, a sharp outbreak in Nangong and Shijiazhuang shows the world that no matter how well your initial response is, only continuous and strict restrictions can keep the Coronavirus out of the community. Five days ago, a plot of land in Nangong, Hebei, laid flat. Now, it has become a 1500 room hospital for Covid-19 patients.

Hospitals quickly being built in Nangong, Hebei

This may be an overreaction by the Chinese government – however, they may just be preparing for the worst. This does give a sign of what the future may hold for countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, where cases are still at record highs. With that said, GDP and Retail Sales are predicted to increase on the back of a boost in the manufacturing sector alongside consumer spending the income they saved during the past lockdown. GDP is expected to rise to 6.1% in Q4, up from 4.9% in the previous quarter. Furthermore, retail sales are predicted to grow. 5.5% in the month of December, ahead of Chinese Near Year.

Tuesday, 19th January – Germany's CPI figures

The Coronavirus situation in many countries highlights the importance of implementing a strict lockdown and following it through. The benefits of a lockdown only work if community transmission is eliminated. However, many countries apart from a small handful tried to balance economic damage alongside the Coronavirus spread, which meant deescalating Coronavirus restrictions too early, rendering the lockdown useless.

Germany's Daily Coronavirus Figures

Germany is one of the nations that deescalated too quickly, causing massive spikes in their Coronavirus figures. Their total cases now stand at 2.04 Million, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel urgently trying to rush in more stringent restrictions to dampen the virus's spread. However, the recent spike is unlikely to affect analysts' expectation of Germany's CPI,s expected to print at -0.7% for the month of December, the same as a month before.

Wednesday, 20th January – United Kingdom's CPI Figures

With just under 3.6 Million initial doses having been handed out to the UK public, the United Kingdom's dire situation looks like it's starting to make a turnaround. The daily Coronavirus rate has slowly decreased in the past couple of days - however, Britons do not seem to be adhering to lockdown and social distancing rules.

The Sea Front in Brighton, England

The third lockdown in the past 12 months, UK citizens have been seen gathering around beaches with no mask on. The UK government is banking on the vaccine to help control the virus's spread, as hospital beds continue to be filled with Coronavirus patients. The CPI is expected to rise by 0.5%, up from 0.3% a month before.

Wednesday 20th January – Bank of Canada's Interest Rate Decision

Canada seems to be avoiding the limelight – however, their Coronavirus cases are continuing to skyrocket after a semi-successful, non-strict lockdown. However, like all countries that did not eliminate community transmission, their cases soared as the latter part of 2020 approached. Coronavirus cases in Canada surpassed 700,000 yesterday.

This may well play into their interest rate decision this week ahead. With the second wave all but destroying any optimism in Canada's economic recovery, analysts predict a rate cut of less than 0.25%, currently at 0.25%. Andrew Kelvin, Chief Canada Strategist at TD Securities, stated that "The fact that the Bank of Canada has kept the door open to ( a rate cut) in the recent month hasn't gone unnoticed by markets."

Thursday, 21st and Friday 22nd January – Australia's Employment Change and Retail Sales Month over Month

The news many Australian citizens wanted to hear – "There are no remaining hotspot definitions," Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt stated at a press conference, with only one community transmission in the past couple of days. However, he warned that their not out of the woods yet, stating that "invevitably, there will be days of new cases. There will be days where there may be a requirement for Commonwealth hotspot definition to be reintroduced. But they'll be done on a the basis of that, and cases". This may indicate that Australia is finally able to start its economic recovery – alongside the implementation of the Trans-Atlantic bubble between Australia and New Zealand. Employment Change is expected to decrease from +90,000 in November to +50,000 in December.

Thursday, 21st January – Bank of Japan's Interest Rate Decision

Similar to Canada, Japan did not implement a proper lockdown. Instead, they opted for an increase in social distancing measures alongside confidence in their citizens to continue to wear face masks. Just like Canada, initial results were promising. However, as the year passed, it was evident that community transmission is inevitable if it was not thoroughly squashed out. Currently, Japan sits on 325,000 Coronavirus cases, with daily cases reaching an all-time high of 8,000 just a couple of days ago. With negative rates in Japan, monetary policy moves to the downside are rare as not to dig a hole the Bank of Japan can not come out of. Chances are, the BoJ will opt for other tools for yield control, such as asset purchases. However, analysts at Bloomberg Economics forecast the BoJ to keep rates as is not only this week ahead but for the whole year.

Busy week ahead. Trade safe, and most importantly, stay safe.

This week ahead: CPI, NFP & RBA Interest Rate Decision

As Europe enters into the late stages of their respective lockdowns, it looks like the Coronavirus story may be starting to reach its end. Worldwide cases have started to plateau, with only a couple of countries where the Coronavirus cases continue to rise. For example, the United States broke the grim record of 200,000 cases per day, and Brazil's cases continue to increase. This week ahead contains a plethora of data releases from various countries, so stay tuned.

Eyes on Governor Lowe of the RBA on the banks' Interest Rate decision this week ahead

Monday, 30th November – China Non-Manufacturing PMI

After essentially stamping out the virus, China continues to excel in its recovery. For the right part of 6 months, China's Coronavirus cases have stayed relatively flat, showing their strict Coronavirus strategy's effectiveness. While their politics has remained relatively tame, geopolitical pressures with other countries have started to simmer, most notably with Australia. China recently slapped Australia with a 200% tax on Australian wine as Australia ramps its probe on where the Coronavirus originated in China. This is on top of tariffs on beef, coal, barley, seafood, sugar, and timber. China's PMI's are expected to drop to 52.1 from 56.2 the month before.

Monday, 30th November – Germany CPI

Merkel's summary of Germany's near future portrays how the Coronavirus has played out in Germany in the past couple of weeks. She stated, "We're in for a tough winter, but it will come to an end.,.. My wish for us all is that we act responsibly and stand up for each other." Coronavirus cases in Germany, like many in countries in Europe, have skyrocketed. A premature de-restriction in lockdown measures, alongside summer travel, have pushed Coronavirus cases further higher. That said, analysts predict no change in CPI growth, with a predicted figure of -0.5%.

Monday 30th November, Tuesday 1st December and Thursday 3rd December - ECB Lagarde Speech, Europe CPI and Retail Sales

With the ECB offering over 1.8 Trillion euros of Stimulus alongside 0% interest rates to help support the European Union, the central bank is looking for additional ways to push the bloc out of the recession. The ECB President, Christine Lagarde, continues to stress that the bank's role is to ensure that "the financing conditions are stable, and are conducive to economic recovery is it comes." With two consecutive speeches, traders and investors should watch out for wild whipsaws in the Euro this week. Furthermore, the European Union is set to release the CPI figures this week, with analysts predict the CPI to fall at a slower rate at 0.2%, as suppose to 0.3% the month before

Tuesday 1st, Wednesday 2nd, and Friday 4th December – RBA Interest rate Decision, Governor Lowe Speech, and Retail Sales

The Reserve Bank of Australia has pumped over 100 Billion Australian Dollars into the Australian economy. So far, it seems like it's been working, signaled by dampened currency appreciation and lower bond yields. Analysts predict that the Australian dollar will outperform the New Zealand dollar, with Martin Whetton, head of fixed income and currency strategy, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia stating that "New Zealand exports are more exposed to the U.K., the eurozone and the U.S. than Australia,." With the recent success Australia has been having to the Coronavirus, alongside positive responses from the quantitative easing the RBA has been implementing, analysts predict the RBA will keep rates as is at 0.1%. Retail sales are also going to be released this week ahead.

Tuesday 1st, Wednesday 2nd, and Friday 4th December – U.S. ISMs, Fed Powell speak, and NFP

As the President's transition from Donald Trump to Joe Biden gets underway, this week ahead will be a busy week regarding the data coming out from the United States. With Coronavirus cases continuing to rise with no end in sight, analysts predict a drop in the U.S. ISMs from 59.3 to 57.5. NFP figures are also coming out this week ahead, with analysts predicting a decline from 638k last month to 520k this month. Furthermore, expect Chairman of the Fed, Jerome Powell, to reiterate his support for the United States economy.

A lot of data coming out this week. Stay safe, Trade safe.

PBoC, Inflation and Jobless Claims - Week ahead

The markets continue to grapple with the immediate effects of the Coronavirus. The second wave in pockets of the world has forced cities to take active measures to control the virus. Melbourne, Australia has gone into a secondary lockdown while Florida and Los Angeles see cases surge, with the Mayor of Los Angeles stating that the city is “on the brink” and a Democratic representative from Florida reports the outbreak is “totally out of control.” Here is your week ahead

Monday, 20 July – Peoples Bank of China Interest Rate decision

PBoC's Interest Rate

China’s Central Bank, the Peoples Bank of China has been wary of cutting interest rates, even during the peak of the pandemic. Ma Jun, a PBOC adviser, stated in early April, “The PBOC doesn’t use its bullets all at once. China has plenty of room in monetary policy.” The PBOC has kept interest rates at 3.85%, after dropping it 30 basis points from 4.05% in April. However, forecasts and estimates expect the PBoC to keep rates as is at 3.85% this week ahead.

Tuesday, 21 July – Inflation rate YoY Bank of Japan

With 660 new cases of the Coronavirus yesterday, Japan has struggled to keep ahead of the virus after the world praised it for its lighter approach to restrictions. However, that approach, as seen similarly from Australia, has not bode well for the country. Japan has seen triple-digit daily increases for the whole month of July. This has caused consumption and spending to decrease dramatically. Analysts predict an inflation rate of 0.1%; however, there is a high chance that this may be pushed to the downside, which may put downward pressure on the JPY.

 Tuesday, 21 July – Reserve Bank of Australia minutes

Australia is continuing to grapple with the effects of the Coronavirus, with Melbourne being put back into lockdown and the state of Victoria imposing mandatory mask restrictions. With RBA minutes earlier in the year having a tone of optimism, likely, that tone will not continue here. The second lockdown is a massive blow to the country, socially and economically. The Trans-Tasman bubble between New Zealand and Australia has been delayed, with economic activity in the state of Victoria plummeting. We may see Aussie weakness against its New Zealand counterpart as Australia reels back their reopening.

 Thursday 21st July – Canada Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Canada continues to post double-digit daily Coronavirus cases as they, too, implemented a looser lockdown restriction like Japan and Australia.  We saw a drop in the CPI from March to April as citizens decreased their spending. We saw a slight increase in the Month of May, however, analysts expect to stabilize around 137 for the month of June.

Thursday 23 July, US Initial Jobless Claims

US Initial Jobless claims. Source: Bloomberg

With Initial Jobless Claims posting the smallest decline since March last week, the US jobs market is showing a slight rebound. However, we are all aware of the current situation with the Coronavirus cases in the US. Florida and Los Angeles are posting daily record numbers every week, while President Donald Trump focuses on reopening the economy and the US-China trade deals. I expect this number to slowly creep up as the full effects the second wave of the Coronavirus becomes evident. Analysts predict Jobless Claims to drop to 1.29m from 1.3m previously.

We have seen this mindset in the market, which discounts negative news and rallies on positive news. This is partially due to liquidity propping up many markets. Investors and traders must take this into account when placing trades.

Trade safe!