International Business Times

By Christine Gaylican | March 22, 2012 16:44 GMT

Australian Dollar Outlook - 03/23/2012

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Australian Dollar Outlook - 03/23/2012

Bell FX Currency Outlook: The Australian dollar has continued its tumble overnight as shrinking manufacturing data in China and Europe bolstered safe haven demand for the US dollar.

Australia: The demise of the local unit began earlier this week as mining giant BHP Billiton announced signs that iron ore demand from China is flattening, as well as dovish minutes from the RBA suggested the bank has ample room to ease policy should conditions worsen.

The risk off theme during the last 24 hours has seen the AUD fall close to a two month low, opening below USD1.0400 this morning.

Continuing its contracting trend, and suggesting enterprises are still under pressure despite an easing in monetary conditions, Chinese manufacturing has fallen to 48.1 in March from 49.6 in February.

US equities were lower with the S&P 500 down 0.7% to 1393 and the Dow Jones falling 0.6% to 13046, on the back of the news. European equities also fell sharply, seeing recession worries return as PMI data for the two biggest economies contracted.

French manufacturing data fell to 47.6 from a previous 50.0 with German manufacturing also falling to 48.1 from a previous 50.2. The German DAX finished 1.3% lower at 6981 with the FTSE 100 falling 0.8% lower to 5846.

With no major data releases in Australia today, we aren't expecting too much in the way of price action for the AUD, but the possibility for it to drift a little lower in the short term.

Majors: The USD rose across the board benefiting from positive US economic data as well as its safe haven appeal. US employment claims have continued their trend lower and have falling to 348k; their lowest level since July 2008. Oil prices retracted overnight as concerns over global fuel demand resurfaced following the disappointing PMI results out of China and Europe. WTI decreased 1.7% to USD 105.43 per barrel and Brent closed 0.9% lower to USD 123.12 per barrel. Gold also declined 0.5% to USD 1,642.75.

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