Australian dollar can’t break out, Fed stays cautious

  • RBA’s Bullock says inflation has peaked
  • Fed says it will proceed carefully

The Australian dollar continues to try and break out, without much success. In the North American session, AUD/USD is trading at 0.6561, up 0.09%.

RBA’s Bullock says inflation has peaked

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Michele Bullock said on Tuesday that inflation has peaked and that the upside risk to inflation was domestic and demand-driven. Therefore, the RBA would need to respond by continuing to bring down inflation while preserving the gains made in the labour market. Bullock acknowledged that this involved treading on a “narrow path”.

The RBA raised rates earlier in the month after four straight pauses. The rate hike was not a surprise but the market reaction was unexpected, with the Australian dollar sustaining sharp losses. Investors chose to focus on language in the policy statement which suggested that the bar to increase rates had been raised. The message that inflation remained too high was ignored, with investors treating the move as a dovish hike.

Fed preaches caution

At the November meeting, Fed Chair Powell sprinkled his post-meeting press conference with references to the Fed having to exercise caution and Tuesday’s FOMC minutes also mentioned the need to “proceed carefully”. The minutes gave no indication that members had discussed rate cuts, noting that members felt that the current policy was restrictive and pushing inflation lower. The markets have a more dovish view and have priced in a rate cut sometime in mid-2024. I expect the Fed to continue to sound hawkish and warn that rate hikes are still on the table, but it’s doubtful if anyone in the markets is listening.

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AUD/USD Technical

  • AUD/USD continues to put pressure on resistance at 0.6587. Above, there is resistance at 0.6660
  • 0.6470 and 0.6431 are providing support

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Kenny Fisher

Kenny Fisher

Market Analyst at OANDA
A highly experienced financial market analyst with a focus on fundamental analysis, Kenneth Fisher’s daily commentary covers a broad range of markets including forex, equities and commodities. His work has been published in several major online financial publications including Investing.com, Seeking Alpha and FXStreet. Based in Israel, Kenny has been a MarketPulse contributor since 2012.