Australian Dollar, AUD/USD, Omicron Variant, Chinese PMI Data – Talking Points

  • Markets go risk-on after initial reaction to the Omicron variant subsides
  • Chinese PMI data for November is in focus for today’s Asia-Pacific session
  • AUD/USD attempts to extend gains from Monday, September low eyed

Tuesday’s Asia-Pacific Forecast

Asia-Pacific markets look set to open higher after Wall Street stocks rebounded in New York’s overnight session. Investors’ concerns over the newly discovered Omicron Covid variant were assuaged by President Joe Biden, who said the new strain is a cause for concern but didn’t see the possibility for lockdowns because of it. AUD/USD moved higher alongside the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

This morning saw PMI data out of China cross the wires. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported an improvement in November for the services and manufacturing sectors. The non-manufacturing index (services) fell slightly to 52.3 from 52.4. That was above the consensus forecast of 51.5, according to a Bloomberg survey. The manufacturing index climbed out of contraction at 50.1 from 49.2, also beating analysts’ expectations, which were set at 49.7. The strong data suggests China’s economy may be heating up again following a lull in growth through the summer months.

Oil prices moved higher, but gains were trimmed early this morning. WTI prices remain below the 70 handle. The Biden administration says it won’t back off from releasing barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) despite the big drop in prices last week. Traders will be awaiting this week’s inventory reports from the API and EIA. The US non-farm payrolls report for November is due out on Friday.

New Zealand’s ANZ Bank reported business confidence for November, with the figure remaining negative at 16.4. Australia will release building permits data for October. Meanwhile, traders will continue to assess the emerging Omicron variant. Initial reports show that the strain is highly contagious but perhaps not as deadly as the Delta variant, which is the strain currently spreading in most parts of the world. Initial fears were likely overblown, but the reaction shows that Covid headlines still have the ability to hit markets hard.

Federal Reserve Chair Powell spoke Monday and stated Omicron poses potential downside risks to the labor market and the overall economic recovery. However, traders brushed those comments aside as it’s likely a generic response while the Fed awaits more data. Powell will speak alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen tomorrow before the House Financial Services Committee.

AUD/USD Technical Forecast

AUD/USD is extending gains from Monday although the currency pair remains deeply in the red for November. RSI is currently attempting to move back into neutral territory from oversold conditions, while the MACD oscillator appears to be moderating. The September low at 0.7170 will likely pose the biggest level of resistance to the upside. If prices turn lower again, the August low at 0.7106 is potential support.

AUD/USD Daily Chart

audusd chart

Chart created with TradingView

— Written by Thomas Westwater, Analyst for DailyFX.com

To contact Thomas, use the comments section below or @FxWestwater on Twitter

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