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Market update: AUD holds early gains against USD after jobs beat

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The Australian dollar held gains after Australia jobs data beat expectations; AUD/USD is attempting to form an interim base, while speculative short AUD positioning is at the highest level since early 2022.


original-size.webpCaption: Bloomberg


 Manish Jaradi | IG Analyst, Singapore | Publication date: Thursday 14 September 2023 07:01

Strong employment growth led by part-time jobs in August

The Australian dollar held early Asia gains against the US dollar after the Australian economy created more jobs than expected last month. 

The Australian economy created 64.9k jobs in August, compared with forecasts for a gain of 23k, following job losses in July. The unemployment rate remained flat at 3.7%, in line with expectations, just off five-decade lows.

The solid jobs number was almost entirely due to part-time employment gains (62.1k), prompting a slight retreat in AUD/USD. Full-time employment rose 2.8k following losses of 24.2k in July. 

AUD/USD five-minute chart


original-size.webpSource: TradingView

Aussie job market cooling

The Australian jobs market is showing signs of cooling, reducing the urgency to tighten further. Recent Australian data, including gross domestic product (GDP), composite and services purchasing managers' index (PMI), have been encouraging, coming in higher than previous readings. 

However, the Economic Surprise Index for Australia suggests the data have broadly been underwhelming. Wednesday’s jobs data does little to alter the broader expectations of RBA remaining on hold next month. Market pricing suggests a small possibility of a rate hike in November. 

With the broader US inflation trajectory still pointing down, albeit gradually, US Federal Reserve rate expectations remained largely anchored around one more hike in November (about 40% chance) before rate cuts beginning mid-2024.

US consumer price index (CPI) rose by 3.7% on-year last month, against expectations of 3.6%, well above 3.2% in July. However, core inflation eased to 4.3% on-year from 4.7% previously. 

While the rates outlook for both economies remains similar until the year-end, the outperformance of the US economy has pushed up US dollar globally. In contrast, the outlook for the Australian economy has been deteriorating since the last year.

Much would depend on the outlook on the Chinese demand, Australia’s largest export destination. Beijing has announced a spate of support measures/stimulus measures in recent weeks to cushion some of the downside risks, but those measures have yet to translate into an improved outlook for the economy.

AUD/USD 240-minute chart


original-size.webpSource: TradingView

AUD/USD technical analysis

Meanwhile, on technical charts, AUD/USD looks oversold as speculative short AUD positioning is at the highest levels since early 2022. The hold in recent weeks around 0.6350, coinciding with the lower edge of a declining channel since March suggests AUD/USD is attempting to form an interim base.

This is reinforced by developments on higher timeframe charts – the 14-week relative strength index (RSI) is near the 40-level, which was associated with a rebound on two occasions in H1-2023. 

The rise earlier this week above 0.6400 is an encouraging sign for bulls. Any break above the end-August high of 0.6525 would trigger a minor double bottom (the August and September lows), pointing to gains toward 0.6700. 

AUD/USD weekly chart


original-size.webpSource: TradingView




This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Australia Pty Ltd. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients.

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