The AUD has jumped following a much larger-than-expected increase in jobs for February, beating expectations almost three times over and reducing Australia’s unemployment rate down to 5.8% from 6.3%, making it the lowest in 12 months. The employment report followed the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision on Wednesday. Interest rates were kept on hold as expected, but it forecast GDP to rise to 6.5% in 2021 — a marked difference when compared to December’s 4.2% prediction. As optimism about the world's biggest economy flooded the market, the AUD had already started its move upwards.
The week had been slow for the AUD until Thursday. Early that day, we saw New Zealand’s GDP figures drop unexpectedly, which sent the NZD down and, after the Australian unemployment figures were released, the AUD charged to the highest level seen in a week. The market will be paying close attention to the Australian retail sales figures due out on Friday and a good result there could see the AUD trade at its highest in a month.
The big news this week was from the Federal Reserve, which boosted risk sentiment and finally allowed the AUD to break out from the range it has been trapped in for the past fortnight. With Powell failing to flash any interest rate signals, the USD traded over a cent lower following the announcement. Additionally, with 10-year treasury yields finally looking like consolidating, we could see the risk-sensitive AUD benefit should they begin to fall.
A quiet week of economic data in the UK has allowed the AUD to push on following more good news out of Australia. The GBP, which has struggled this week due to Europe’s third-wave fears around the pandemic, is trading cautiously ahead of the Bank of England’s interest rate decision. It is widely thought that no changes will be made, but any indication from the Bank about its bond buying programme increasing or decreasing are likely to influence the GBP.
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