Australia on rates watch

Risk currencies bounced as investors reacted to a string of positive manufacturing readings across the globe.

In Asia we had the Tankan index showing that manufacturing conditions in Japan are improving, China’s PMI came in-line with estimates, Europe’s PMI was revised slightly higher (although still in contractionary territory), UK PMI was well ahead of consensus (52.5 versus 51.3) and the US ISM manufacturing PMI also beat consensus (three-month high).

All these positive prints improved investors’ optimism/sentiment and in turn commodities rallied. AUD/USD was perhaps one of the biggest beneficiaries of the recovery in commodities as it rallied to a high of $0.9254 heading into the RBA’s rate decision. Consensus is for no change in rates, which leaves the statement as the most important piece of the puzzle.

We wouldn’t be surprised if the RBA just keeps its statement as brief as the previous one, with China risk potentially flagged further after the recent spike in interbank rates. It will probably comment on AUD weakness as well. Any further gains in AUD/USD are likely to be greeted by selling into the $0.9320 region, which is the top end of the range we saw in June. 

USD/JPY has been edging ever closer to ¥100 and printed a high of ¥99.87 in US trade. We might see some consolidation as the pair approaches this pivotal level. We have Mr Dudley and Mr Powell on the wires later today. This might cause some volatility for the greenback and in turn USD/JPY.

EUR/USD also drifted higher and moved away from key support at $1.30 as the single currency benefited from the risk play. The pair is now trading at around $1.307 with limited data on the eurozone calendar today. Spanish unemployment and PPI are the only noteworthy releases. 

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