Australian Dollar Faces Early Challenges in 2024, but Resilience Expected

February 10, 2024
Australian Dollar Faces Early Challenges in 2024, but Resilience Expected February 10, 2024 Lennox Hamilton

The Australian Dollar has encountered a challenging start to the year 2024, yet UBS strategists remain optimistic about the currency’s potential for outperformance. Despite acknowledging increased risks, the analysis from UBS underscores compelling domestic factors that could contribute to the resilience of the Australian Dollar.

 

Assessment of Domestic Factors:

Vassili Serebriakov, a strategist at UBS, emphasizes that, despite the challenges, there are robust domestic reasons supporting the resilience of the Australian Dollar. This assessment follows the Reserve Bank of Australia’s first policy meeting of the year, where the central bank highlighted the paramount importance of returning inflation to target and did not rule out the possibility of further rate hikes.

 

Central Bank’s Hawkish Tone:

Serebriakov interprets the RBA’s stance as somewhat hawkish, particularly noting Governor Bullock’s press conference, which he suggests should be perceived as supportive of the Australian Dollar. While market expectations leaned towards unchanged interest rates, the RBA’s commitment to the potential for future rate hikes surprised financial markets, adding a ‘hawkish’ element to the central bank’s guidance.

 

Market Sentiment and Currency Performance:

Despite the hawkish signals, the Australian Dollar has struggled to regain significant ground, indicating that the market may still view the central bank with a dovish lens. Year-to-date, the Australian Dollar has depreciated against the U.S. Dollar, while the Pound to Australian Dollar and the Euro to Australian Dollar have shown contrasting trends.

 

UBS Projections and Economic Landscape:

UBS economists anticipate the first rate cut to occur in August, aligning the RBA with other central banks embarking on rate-cutting cycles. Serebriakov suggests a gradual pace of 25 basis points per quarter, with potential support for the Australian Dollar if the RBA trails other central banks, creating favorable interest rate differentials.

 

UBS currency strategists highlight positive aspects of the domestic economy, including robust public spending, strong population growth, and tax cuts. Business investment has also shown an uptick, historically signaling favorable cycles for the Australian Dollar.

 

Value Proposition and UBS Positions:

Serebriakov identifies the Australian Dollar as a value proposition, citing resilient commodity prices and the Australian Trade Weighted Index trading slightly below fair value in UBS’s replication of the RBA model. UBS strategists maintain long positions in AUD/USD and AUD/EUR.

 

Conclusion:

While the Australian Dollar grapples with challenges in the early months of 2024, UBS remains optimistic about its resilience. The assessment of domestic factors, coupled with the central bank’s hawkish signals and positive economic indicators, positions the Australian Dollar for potential outperformance in the face of ongoing market uncertainties.

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