AUD/USD cycled in a familiar pattern around the 0.6600 price point on Tuesday as Antipodeans gear up for a fresh print of Australian Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figures with the next rate call from the US Federal Reserve (Fed0 in the barrel for Wednesday and US Nonfarm Payrolls (NFP) labor figures slated for Friday.
Australia’s QoQ CPI is expected to ease back to 0.8% from the previous quarter’s 1.2%, and the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) Trimmed Mean CPI for the annualized fourth quarter is likewise forecast to clip down from 5.2% to 4.3%.
Australia Monthly CPI Preview: Inflation expected to ease further
The heavy-hitters this week revolve around a one-two punch of another Fed rate call and Friday’s US NFP labor print. The Fed is broadly expected to keep rates on hold this week, but cut-hungry investors are having a hard time letting go of bets for a March rate cut, with 44% of the rate swap market still hoping for a rate cut by March according to the CME’s FedWatch Tool.
This week’s US NFP print is expected to show a slight cooling in US labor markets, with the NFP forecast to come in at 180K in January compared to December’s 216K. Markets have routinely undershot NFP forecasts recently, and a topside upset could see investors suffering a rate tantrum as a stubbornly-healthy US labor market reduces chances of rate cuts happening sooner rather than later.
AUD/USD continues to get hung up on the 0.6600 handle, with intraday price action cycling the major price level with near-term momentum getting propped up by a bullish tilt in the 200-hour Simple Moving Average (SMA) rising into 0.6590.
Daily candlesticks remain underpinned by the 200-day SMA at 0.6570, and the AUD/USD is caught in a dense congestion zone between the 50-day and 200-day SMAs as the pair consolidates into the midrange.