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Australian Dollar Slides After CPI Stays Steady

The Australian dollar took a hit after Australian inflation was lower than expected. In the North American session, AUD/USD is trading at 0.6493, down 0.78%.

CPI holds steady at 3.4%

Australia’s inflation rate remained steady in January at 3.4% y/y, unchanged from December and below the market estimate of 3.6%. This matched the lowest rate of annual inflation since November 2021. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s preferred core indicator, the trimmed mean, dropped to 3.8%, its lowest level since March 2022.

The soft inflation data is an encouraging sign for the Reserve Bank of Australia that its aggressive rate-tightening cycle is keeping inflation in check and the upper level of the 1%-3% target range is not too far off. More importantly, it reduces the likelihood that the RBA will hike rates and raises expectations of two or three rate cuts late in the year. This explains the sharp decline in the Australian dollar today, as lower interest rates would make the Australian dollar less attractive to investors.

The RBA has raised rates only once since June 2023 and hasn’t ruled out rate hikes, although the markets believe that this is posturing by the central bank and the tightening cycle is over. Still, the RBA is unlikely to jump on the rate-cut bandwagon until it is convinced that inflation will continue to fall or the strong labour market shows signs of cooling. The next meeting is on March 18th and the RBA is widely expected to maintain rates and continue its “higher for longer” stance.

AUD/USD Technical

  • AUD/USD has pushed below support at 0.6584 earlier and is putting pressure on support at 0.6453
  • 0.6526 and 0.6560 are the next resistance lines

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