The Australian dollar continues its impressive rally and is in positive territory on Friday. AUD/USD has climbed 1.37% this week.
The war in Ukraine shows no signs of letting up, and news that a Russian missile scored a direct hit on a Ukrainian power plant has made investors even more jittery about the war in Europe. The Australian dollar is a risk currency, but the loss of risk appetite hasn’t affected the Aussie one bit. With commodities surging ever higher on fears of a disruption of supplies from Russia, Australian exports of oil, coal and gold will be even more in demand. This has boosted the Australian dollar, as has recent solid economic releases.
Australian retail sales bounce back
There was more positive news as retail sales for January rebounded with a gain of 1.8%, which matched the estimate. This followed a dismal reading of -4.4% in December. Consumer spending and exports are on an upswing, and this double-barrelled boost in domestic and foreign demand bodes well for the Australian dollar.
The RBA has done its best to dampen rate fever, but if the economy continues to churn out strong numbers, Governor Lowe will be under pressure to raise rates earlier than expected. Lowe has said that the RBA will not lift rates until inflation is sustainably within the bank’s target band of 2-3%, but the markets are expecting a number of rate hikes this year, perhaps as early as June.
Fed Chair Powell put to bed any doubts about a rate hike from the Federal Reserve in March. Powell told lawmakers that the war in Ukraine has led to greater uncertainty, but that the Fed committed to a raising rates. On Thursday, Powell told a Senate committee that in hindsight, the Fed should have tightened more quickly, given the surge inflation. For months, the Fed Chair had insisted that inflation was transitory but was forced to abandon this stance as inflationary pressures refused to recede and inflation rose to its highest level in decades.
- There is resistance at 0.7393 and 0.7502
- AUD/USD has weak support at 0.7313. Below, there is support at 0.7204
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