Why I Like the Australian Dollar

The Australian dollar held support in the middle of last week near $1.04.  Japanese retail and institutional investors, always yield hungry have taken a new look, especially as they begin trying to diversify away from the Brazilian cash register.  There is still scope for another rate cut from the Reserve Bank of Australia, possibly in May, but this has largely been priced in. 

Consider what has happened in the past five days.  The Australian 2-year yield has risen 25 bp, compared with 5 bp increase in the US and no change in the Japanese 2-year rate. 

Many participants see the Aussie as a play on commodity prices.  The CRB index is at it best level since earlier this month when it gapped lower.  The gap created by the lower opening on March 6 has been closed today.  Copper prices are also firm, with the May contract negating the potential reversal seen at the end of last week. 

This is a tactical call, rather than strategic.   Initial resistance comes in near $1.0640, which corresponds to a retracement objective of this months decline as well as the 20-day moving average, but we look for it to be overcome and for the Australian dollar to test the $1.07 area before the end of the week.  The real objective comes in the $1.08-$1.0850 band. 

In terms of speculative market positioning in the IMM futures market,  the net long position was pared back from the 78.2k contracts at the end of February to 61.7k contracts in early March.  The most recent weekly report showed a modest rebuild, but at 66.7k does not appear over-extended.    More impressive than the modest increase in new longs and a modest cut in existing shorts, was the huge jump in spread positions.  They jumped from almost 3.4k to 17k contracts, which is by far the largest since at least the early 1990s, underscoring the significance of new carry trades now that the yen bears are back in the driver's seat. 
Why I Like the Australian Dollar Why I Like the Australian Dollar Reviewed by Marc Chandler on March 19, 2012 Rating: 5
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