AUD struggles despite a softer US dollar

Wednesday’s Asia-Pacific outlook

The Australian dollar failed to take advantage of a risk-on move that sent the US dollar lower against most of its major peers. Yesterday’s dovish 25-basis point rate hike from the Reserve Bank of Australia sent traders into Australian bonds, pushing yields lower.

That effectively makes the Aussie dollar less attractive to global market participants, and with the Federal Reserve and other central banks still primed to deliver jumbo rate hikes, the AUD/USD looks vulnerable despite an early-week bounce.

Speaking of central banks, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is scheduled to deliver an interest rate decision tonight. Rate traders see a strong possibility for a 50-bps rate hike. Despite front-loading much of its policy response, the New Zealand central bank remains in a hawkish position compared to the RBA and other central banks across the region, including the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

Market sentiment looks steady following a bullish overnight session in New York where the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 Index, and tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 Index rose 2.80%, 3.06% and 3.14%, respectively.

Energy stocks led the gains on a broad-based rally as crude oil prices surged higher. OPEC+ is reportedly mulling a production cut as high as 2 million barrels per day (bpd). Key oil spreads rose sharply, with the 3:2:1 crack spread hitting its highest mark since August.

South Korea’s inflation rate fell to 5.6% from a year before in September, missing the 5.7% consensus forecast. Today, Australia’s August retail sales are due for a final update, and the Reserve Bank of Australia’s chart pack will cross the wires at 00:30 UTC. The Philippines September inflation rate is seen rising to 6.7% from 6.3% in August.

Australian dollar technical outlook

AUD/USD is probing former channel support, with the level now appearing as likely resistance. Prices have treaded cautiously higher since setting the September low at 0.6359, leaving behind a set of Bullish Engulfing candlesticks.

A break back into the channel would bring the 20-day Simple Moving Average (SMA) into focus. A positive signal from the Relative Strength Index (RSI) bodes well for bulls, with the oscillator bouncing from its center line on the 4-hour timeframe.

AUD/USD four-hour chart

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