Aussie Firmer As Data Improves

Leading index rebounds

The Westpac leading index showed some improvement in July, rising 0.1% m/m after a 0.08% decline in June. This was the first positive reading since March and in comments linked to the release, Westpac stated that this was the first above-trend reading since November. Westpac noted that the changes in the share market, commodity prices and the inversion of the yield curve point to a likely softer reading for August. The bank still expects the next RBA cut to come in October.

AUD/USD was marginally higher during the Asian morning, partly from the data but also reflecting better risk appetite across asset classes. The pair is lining up for a second daily gain for the first time since early-July. US indices moved higher by between 0.32% and 0.44% while USD/JPY traded 0.24% higher at 106.48.

AUD/USD Daily Chart

AUD/USD Daily Chart

Pound holds steady

The pound is clinging on to yesterday’s gains which saw GBP/USD hit the highest level in almost two weeks. The pound rallied yesterday following some apparent soothing words from German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said “we’ll think about practical solutions” when referring to the Irish backstop situation. That seems to be a softening of the previous stance and FX markets took it positively.

GBP/USD Daily Chart

GBP/USD Daily Chart

Fed minutes awaited

The data calendar is quite sparse during the European session while the North American day features the minutes of the last Fed meeting as the main event. No doubt these minutes will be overshadowed by Powell’s speech at Jackson Hole on Friday, with markets hoping for more clarity of the future Fed path. Speculation seems to favor the announcement of a full-blown easing cycle, but recent Fed comments, and the economic data, could suggest disappointment to the majority.

Aside from the minutes, we have US existing home sales for July, which probably rose 2.5% m/m according to the latest survey, and Canada’s consumer prices for July, which are expected to ease to +1.7% y/y from +2.0% in June.

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