The Australian dollar is trading quietly at the start of the week. In the North American session, AUD/USD is trading at 0.7172, down 0.14% on the day.
US dollar unable to capitalize on soft NFP
December job numbers in the US were mixed. The nonfarm payrolls report was a major disappointment, with a gain of 199 thousand, compared to a forecast of 425 thousand. Despite the soft nonfarm payrolls reports, investors remain hawkish about a Fed rate hike and the major currencies posted gains against the US dollar on Friday. The mixed jobs report is unlikely to change the Fed’s lift-off date for a rate hike, which will likely come in mid-2022, although the markets have priced in a March hike at above 70%.
On the positive side, the US unemployment rate dropped from 4.2% to 3.9% and wage growth climbed 4.7% y/y, above the estimate of 4.2%. As we saw with the JOLTS Jobs Openings release last week, there are jobs to be had, but the difficulty is finding workers to fill the vacancies.
Australia starts the event ball rolling on Tuesday, with the release of Retail Sales for November. The consensus stands at 3.9%, after a gain of 4.9% in October. The circus over star tennis player Novak Djokovic and whether he can remain in Australia for the Australian Open has overshadowed the skyrocketing Covid numbers. Australia is reporting over 1 million infections, as businesses are grappling with staff shortages due to sickness or isolation rules. So far, the government has avoided new lockdowns, but if the infection rates continue to rise, lockdowns could be reimposed which would hamper economic activity.
- There is resistance at 0.7263 and 0.7343
- AUD/USD has support at 0.7116 and 0.7049
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