Macro Morning: Australian dollar weakens

See the latest Australian dollar analysis here:

Australian dollar drops as RBA talks it down


It is a potentially huge day for markets today as we have the monthly release of the big manufacturing PMI numbers. Kicking off this morning is the HSBC manufacturing PMI and then tonight we get the Markit PMI’s for France, Germany, the Eurozone and the US. These data are very important for a number of reasons not least of which is they will either confirm of deny the growing feeling in markets that the mid year slowdown is upon us.

Certainly for the Aussie dollar the HSBC Chinese PMI is going to be very important. The Aussie has been under pressure since the false break above 1.05 which sucked a lot of players into longs (one of my systems included) as the copper and gold price falls over the past week/weeks have really resonated with feelings of disquiet that have grown about the outlook for global growth and thus the Aussie.

Yesterday the NAB put out a piece saying that the collapse in gold over the past week would normally knock another 3.5 cents of the “fair value” of AUDUSD but that:

 the correlation has broken down in the past two years and we are not rushing to downgrade our AUD/USD forecasts

We find this really interesting because certainly correlations come and go but it is dangerous to discount an input which has such a long and storied history of impact on the Aussie. We know the NAB strategy team very well and believe the Co- Head of FX Strategy Ray Attrill to be in the top few currency strategists globally so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on this call. But certainly the worm is turning for the Aussie and the global economy as noted in the Economic Surprise indices and the copper price we’ve mentioned above. Equally both Reuters and the FT this morning are running what might be called anti commodity currency articles which are worth noting.

Thus I believe the old and storied drivers will reassert themselves and as such the Aussie is going to come under sustained and renewed pressure at some point in coming months.

aud, audusd, australian dollar, australian dollar price quote, audusd daily

The price action in the Aussie was intriguing yesterday. It pushed up above 1.03 for a while but as soon as Europe entered the fray the selling for the Aussie and the euro started to come under selling pressure. I had targeted a test of 1.0250 yesterday morning so I sold but took our profit a little early as the low was eventually 1.0233 overnight. The Aussie is starting the day right in the middle of last night’s range and the outlook from where we sit is for a move back under 1.02 to test support at 1.0180 now although on the day we might see a rally to sell into first.

Turning to stocks, they were up in most of Europe and in the US as well but there are growing signs that earnings season is going the wrong way and that the market is becoming vulnerable once again. After starting off fairly strongly earnings are starting to disappoint. This morning on MarketWatch I saw the following:

So far, the first-quarter’s runway show has clashed with expectations.

Of the 103 Standard & Poor’s 500 companies that have reported, 50% beat earnings per share estimates, 43% beat on sales, and 24% excelled on both measures, according to analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

What does this say about the U.S. economy and stocks? Corporate America has seen better.

“This is lower than the proportion of positive surprises we observed last quarter, and below historical average levels,” the Bank of America researchers noted drily.

At the close of play though the Dow was up 0.13% even though Existing Home Sales were disappointing falling 0.6%, the Nasdaq rose 0.87% and the S&P 500 was up 0.50%. Key to the above discussion was the report by Caterpillar which characterised by Bloomberg as the:

largest maker of mining equipment, posted disappointing first-quarter earnings, cut its 2013 forecast and lowered “significantly” its outlook for demand from commodities producers.

So the fact that its shares actually rallied seems incongruous. But that is equally important as the free money makes all news good news, at least for the moment.

In Europe stocks were higher except in London where the FTSE fell marginally by 0.09%. The CAC was flat, the DAX rose 0.24%. Spanish and Italian stocks roared higher up 1.42% and 1.66% respectively after the re-election of the Italian President and his speech to Parliament where he blasted  the politicians for not being able to form government and asked for a grand coalition to be formed briskly. Why this caused stocks to rally so hard is difficult for your humble analyst to fathom but hey that’s equities for you.

In other FX markets someone or something is sitting at 100 in USDJPY as it couldn’t get up through there again overnight making a high of 99.88. At some point USDJPY will trade higher but for the moment the market feels more long than short and the CFTC big spec data certainly highlights that fact also:

jpy, usdjpy, yen, dollar yen, dollar yen quote, 4 hour chart

As you can see in the 4 hour chart above the box we have placed the USDJPY – indeed the box the price action it has placed itself in – was reinforced overnight with a high of 99.88. USDJPY will eventually break 100 most likely when whatever is at 100 rolls off and from there it will probably run a few big figures but part of the preconditions for the punch through is likely to be the need for the market to get a little short dollars.

The euro remains in its range and traded 1.3014 to 1.3093 overnight and sits around the low 60’s this morning. It either has to break 1.32 or 1.30 to build any decent momentum. GBP is very interesting as well respecting a little uptrend line since the low back in March. The key level to watch is 1.5188 over the next few days – a breach would be ugly but it has to break first.

On commodity markets copper was lower falling 0.62% although crude and gold were both higher rising 0.85% and 1.84% respectively. Silver was up 1.59% and in the Ags corn, wheat and soybeans all fell 0.84%, 0.95% and 0.72% respectively.


We kick of with the HSBC Chinese Manufacturing PMI in Asia today before heading to Europe this afternoon/tonight where we see French, German and Eurozone manufacturing PMI’s. Similarly in the US its manufacturing PMI plus housing sales and Richmond fed

Twitter: Greg McKenna

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