Forex Blog: Currency Trading News & Analysis.

July 28th 2009

Reserve Bank of Australia Could be the First to Hike Rates

Based on the chart below, which plots the Australian Dollar against the New Zealand Dollar over the last two years, one might be tempted to conclude that the two currencies are identical for all intents and purposes. Rather than suffer the inconvenience of separately analyzing the Australian Dollar, why not just read yesterday’s post on the New Zealand Dollar, and leave it at that?


But this chart belies the fact that while the two currencies, have risen and fallen (in near lockstep) in sync with the ebb and flow of risk aversion, this could soon change. While the near-term prospects for the New Zealand economy are dubious, sentiment towards the Australian economy is more consistently optimistic.  “Central bank Governor Glenn Stevens said the nation’s economic downturn may not be ‘one of the more serious’ of the post-World War II era.” In addition, “Stevens said the nation’s economy may rebound faster than the central bank had predicted six months ago on improving confidence among consumers and businesses alike.” The latest projections are for a fall in .5% contraction in GDP in 2009 followed by a 1% rise in 2010.

Meanwhile, government spending is surging: “The Australian government forecast its largest budget deficit on record of A$57.6 billion for fiscal year 2009-10, or 4.9% of GDP.” Combined with the steady recovery in commodity prices and the resumption of residential construction, this could soon trickle down through the Australian economy in the form of inflation. It’s no wonder, then, that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) could begin tightening interest rates as early as December, in order to mitigate against the possibility of inflation in 2011 and 2012.

In fact, Governor Glen Stevens has been raising eyebrows with his unequivocal comments about raising rates. “I’ve never seen written down … I’ve never heard in discussion in the institution, some rule of thumb that says we wait until unemployment’s peaked before we lift the cash rate…I think it depends what else is happening, and also depends how low you went. We eased very aggressively,” he said recently. As a result, traders are betting that rates will be 1.13% higher one year from now than they are today.

This development should be of especial interest to forex traders. Australian interest rates are already the highest in the industrialized world. When you consider “the market’s expectations that the RBA is likely to be the G-10 central bank which is likely to hike first,” it goes a long way towards explaining the 18% rise in the Aussie that has taken place in 2009 alone. Compare a hypothetical 4% RBA benchmark rate to the .1% in Japan and ~0% in the US, and carry traders will start to salivate.

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Posted by Adam Kritzer | in Australian Dollar, Central Banks, News | No Comments »

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© 2004 - 2023 Forex Currency charts © their sources. While we aim to analyze and try to forceast the forex markets, none of what we publish should be taken as personalized investment advice. Forex exchange rates depend on many factors like monetary policy, currency inflation, and geo-political risks that may not be forseen. Forex trading & investing involves a significant risk of loss.