AUD oversold, GBP running into resistance

AUD/USD has faced a significant bout of pressure since testing a high of around 0.9087. A dismal jobs report in December piled on more pressure on the currency and since then it has failed to recover. Consequently short speculative positioning has increased as sentiment has deteriorated. Yesterday’s slate of Chinese data failed to dent the AUD however, with the currency encouragingly showing some resilience.

Attention will now turn to tomorrow’s CPI inflation data. The release of the TD Securities inflation gauge which printed higher than consensus, highlights upside risks to the release of Q4 CPI and in this respect I believe market expectations of any RBA policy rate cuts look overdone. My quantitative model estimate for AUD/USD suggests that the currency is oversold, with short term fair value seen at around 0.9226.

GBP/USD is edging back up to its year highs around 1.6526 recorded at the turn of the year, a level that is likely to prove to be a tough resistance level. In spite of softer data including manufacturing and service sector confidence readings as well as industrial production the currency was buoyed by a strong December retail sales report at the end of last week.

Jobs data and the Bank of England MPC minutes will be on tap on Wednesday providing more direction for the currency. The minutes are likely to reveal few surprises but there is no doubt that the Bank is moving towards some sort of change in language on its forward guidance. GBP will find little further support over coming days, with consolidation likely. However, market positioning does not appear to be particularly stretched, suggesting limited downside risks.

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