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*USD closed lower, off recent highs and is holding at a one-week low
*US stocks closed at record highs, VIX eased as bond yields fell
*Disappointing Chinese data hurts AUD, global risk environment
USD is little changed this morning after firmly rejecting recent highs on the DXY above 93. US consumer confidence dropped sharply in August reflecting a fall in sentiment around both current and future conditions. EUR is now trading just below 1.18 while JPY fell quickly back through 110 for the first time in a week. GBP made ground but still trades below down trendline resistance in a busy UK data week.
US equities ended at record highs despite the plunge in consumer sentiment to its lowest in nearly a decade. The Nasdaq has not managed to take out the cycle highs as yet, chiefly due to some tech titans like Amazon post-results lagging. The worsening Delta variant concerns in the US are currently being shrugged off. Asian markets are lower today led by Japan. US stock futures are following their lead and pointing to a lower start.
Market Thoughts – Risk-taking struggling
A busy start to the week already with Asian risk sentiment suffering a setback with geopolitical and local Covid issues plus slowing Chinese growth momentum weighing. Although today’s calendar is empty, political developments in Afghanistan simply add to the ongoing outlook as a re-rating of Asia’s growth picture continues. It is another reason as to why the dollar is holing up today after its strong selloff Friday. Other safe havens like CHF and JPY are also supported this morning.
Later in the week, the FOMC minutes may offer further support to the greenback. Any clues on tapering will be key and “progress” around the US economy. The two most hawkish major central banks will also be in focus. Markets fully expect the RBNZ to hike rates so future guidance will be important. The Norges bank is set to announce they will hike in September.
Chart of the Day – AUD suffering on disappointing China data
Economic growth in China continues with a slew of poor data out today. Industrial production showed only 6.4% y/y growth versus 7.9% expected. Retail sales advanced 8.5% y/y versus 10.9% forecast. Targeted lockdowns and disruption of travel are crimping the economy with the closure of the world’s third largest port a distressing signal.
AUD has been sold on the back of this China data with falling iron ore prices and the worsening sentiment in Asia adding to the woes. Domestic lockdowns in Australia are also not helping. Only 16% of the population have been fully vaccinated. While AUD/NZD drops to new lows, AUD/USD is still trading in a narrow range. Key support is at 0.7316 just above pivot lows at 0.7289. The more the pair compresses, the greater the breakout will be. Resistance above lies at 0.7409 and the August high at 0.7426.
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