Australian dollar falls below 71 US cents after Reserve Bank turns `dovish` on economy

Published on : April 03, 2019 Topic : Economy
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It was buying 70.69 US cents at 7:15am (AEDT), a significant drop from yesterday's 71.11 US cents.

The dollar also experienced steep falls to 53.83 British pence (-0.6 pc), 63.09 euro cents (-0.5 pc), and 78.72 Japanese yen (-0.6pc).

Currency traders sold the Australian dollar after noticing a "dovish" change in language in the RBA governor Philip Lowe's post-meeting statement.

In particular, analysts noticed Dr Lowe did not mention the Australian economy growing at 3 per cent this year — a subtle omission compared to his previous statements — and spoke of a divergence between labour market and GDP outcomes.

"The [Reserve] Bank has acknowledged for the first time that the housing downturn is weighing on consumption and we also got a re-write of the final paragraph [of the statement] for the first time in ages," NAB foreign exchange strategist Rodrigo Catril said.

He noted an important change in the final paragraph of the RBA governor's post-meeting statement:
"The board will continue to monitor developments and set monetary policy to support sustainable growth in the economy and achieve the inflation target over time."

Mr Catril said "the market has interpreted [that] as a nod to [the RBA] being open about considering future rate cuts".

Many economists now expect the RBA to cut interest rates at least once by the end of this year.

Mixed results for markets

Meanwhile, the Australian share market is expected to open moderately higher, for the sixth consecutive session.

ASX futures are indicating an early gain of 0.5 per cent.

The benchmark ASX 200 index has lifted 1.9 per cent since March 25 — and has gained 10.6 per cent since the year began.

European markets were stronger overnight. London's FTSE jumped 1 per cent despite the Brexit parliamentary chaos, and Germany's DAX rose 0.6 per cent.

On Wall Street, investors traded more cautiously after US markets surged in the past three trading days.

The Dow Jones index finished 79 points lower, down 0.3 per cent to 26,179.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq lifted by a slight 0.25 per cent, while the benchmark S&P 500 closed flat.

Retail sales and trade balance

In economic news, February's retail sales and trade balance figures will be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics at 11:30am (AEDT).

Reuters-polled economists are expecting retail sales to have risen by a slight 0.2 per cent.

In relation to the trade data, Commonwealth Bank currency strategist Joseph Capurso is expecting a $3.5 billion trade surplus for February.

"A lift in commodity prices in the month will give the exports side of the equation a boost," he said.

"A slowdown in coal exports into China could offset this to a small degree."

Source: ABC News
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