USD, AUD and GBP view

The USD is struggling to make much headway, continuing to be capped in the wake of lower US Treasury yields following Fed Chairman nominee Yellen’s comments last week. There appears to be little clarity as markets continue to second guess the timing of Fed tapering while Fed officials appear to be giving conflicting signals. However, some clarification will be sought from Fed Chairman Bernanke’s comments later tonight. Meanwhile, the large increase in USD speculative positioning as revealed in the CFTC IMM data give further reason to be cautious on further USD appreciation in the short term. Alongside likely weaker data US releases including October retail sales over coming days, it suggests limited upside USD potential.

The AUD may take advantage of a pause in the USD’s appreciation trend, helped by the release of the November 5 RBA meeting minutes. The minutes confirmed that the central bank is in no hurry to ease policy rates further. Although they did note that the AUD remains uncomfortably high there was nothing new in such comments. It increasingly looks as though the RBA has reached the bottom of its easing cycle, something that will likely help to provide the AUD with some support over the coming months. In the near term AUD/USD will attempt to take a crack at resistance around 0.9421 although a speech by governor Stevens on Thursday will give further direction, and could hold risks to AUD especially if he attempts to talk the currency lower.

GBP has been relatively resilient in the wake of some positive UK economic data releases. Attention will turn to tomorrow’s Bank of England MPC minutes which will be scrutinized for clues to a possible change in the 7% unemployment rate threshold. Already it appears that the BoE is closer to hiking policy rates than previously thought as indicated in last week’s Quarterly Inflation Report. GBP/USD may benefit from some general USD consolidation although its gains will be restricted ahead of the MPC minutes. Near term support GBP/USD is seen around 1.6080, with risks of profit taking on recent GBP gains likely to restrict upside potential in the currency.

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