Table: How NZ Economy Fared Since March Mtg

Aside from the Federal Reserve, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand also has a monetary policy announcement this afternoon. The RBNZ is expected to keep rates unchanged – hard to validate a rate hike when the RBA is planning to ease. Also, the last time the RBNZ met, Governor Bollard said “sustained strength in NZD would reduce the need for further increases in the cash rate.” – So it doesn’t look like rate hikes are in the pipeline until there is more evidence of a recovery. Nonetheless, here’s a table of how the economy changed since the last meeting:

Charting AUD/NZD: A Turn in the Making?

Since the middle of December, AUD/NZD has fallen more than 5 percent. The weakness of the currency pair is more a function of the problems in Australia than the strength in New Zealand. The floods in Queensland sent the Aussie tumbling as investors grew concerned about the impact on the economy. However over the past 3 trading day, AUD/NZD has found a bottom that I believe could become a more significant turn in the currency. In the near term, there is no major resistance until 1.31 but a move to 1.32 is realistic. Not only has AUD/NZD broken out of a downtrend, which I define using Bollinger Bands (discussed in Little Book of Currency Trading), but it has also cleared the 100-day SMA. New Zealand economic data has been soft and there is a possibility that retail sales tonight will disappoint as well. In Australia on the other hand, next week’s inflation report could show strong price pressures, restoring concerns about the need for tighter monetary policy.

My Favorite Forex Trade: AUD/NZD

My favorite forex trade right now is shorting AUD/NZD.

After hitting a 9 year high of 1.3124 last week, the rally in AUD/NZD is losing steam. I should have posted about this earlier, but I think there is still room for the currency pair to fall.

Last week, the Reserve Bank of Australia raised interest rates by 25bp to 4 percent but hinted that from here on forward, they will begin to slow down their pace of tightening. Having already doled out 80 to 90 percent of their planned rate hikes, the focus will now turn to the RBNZ who has not even started to raise interest rates. Granted, the Australian economy is doing far better than the New Zealand economy, it is time for New Zealand to catch up. In January, New Zealand turned its first trade surplus after 7 months of consecutive deficits and in February, business confidence hit a 10 year high. Yes my friends, a TEN YEAR HIGH. With numbers as strong as these, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will most likely grow more hawkish, paving the way for a rate hike later this year.

Furthermore, 25% of New Zealand’s exports go to China and 25% go to Australia. Therefore the combination of higher commodity prices and strong growth in NZ’s most important trade partners should encourage the RBNZ to adopt a more optimistic tone when they meet later this week.

Finally AUD/NZD presents a good risk reward opportunity from a technical basis. It is currently trading at 1.2975 and if it rallies back above 1.31, the uptrend has resumed. Otherwise, there is no major support in AUD/NZD until 1.2775

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