Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Daily Forex Brief London: Tuesday 1st May 2012

Last night's decision by the RBA to lower the cash rate by 50bp to 3.75% ought to be applauded. Faced with an economy which, outside the mining sector, is in recession and with inflation likely to be lower than expected, policy-makers rightly decided that financial conditions needed to be loosened considerably. Australia's central bank would also be concerned by the continued decline in property prices – according to the ABS, established house prices fell by a further 1.1% in the first quarter, the fifth consecutive quarterly decline. More rate cuts are likely to be in the pipeline, judging by the level of term interest rates and the shape of the yield curve. For shorter-term maturities, yields fell by as much as 20bp overnight with the 2yr yield now just 2.8%! Both 5yr and 10yr bond yields fell to record lows. The RBA will also be pleased by the response of the currency, with the Aussie down 1% to just above 1.03. Last night's sudden drop aside, it is worth recognising that the AUD's recent performance has actually been remarkably resilient considering the significant narrowing in interest rate differentials. As we were suggesting yesterday, the key driver for the currency is invariably global risk appetite rather than domestic fundamentals.

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