Ailing dollar takes another hit

The dollar has taken another belting and remains under pressure as soft data on housing loan approvals and business conditions and confidence pointed to a slower than expected transition from mining-led growth.
杭州桑拿

The currency breached US94¢ and fell to a 32-month low of US93.82¢ after the data was released, before recovering. It then dropped again and was trading at US93.47¢ late on Tuesday as traders targeted stops below US93.88¢, the previous low in October 2011.

Economists said the dollar could face more pressure on Thursday if employment figures were weaker than expected. They are forecasting the jobless rate to rise by 0.1 per cent to 5.6 per cent, and for jobs in the economy to fall by 10,000.

NAB currency strategist Ray Attrill said the market’s expectation that the economy was in a ”rough period” was borne out by the data.

The weaker than expected data also raised expectations the Reserve Bank would cut the cash rate again to stimulate the economy.

Home loan approvals for April rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.8 per cent, after the biggest jump in home loans for four years in March. Economists expected a 2 per cent rise.

At the same time, business conditions in May improved slightly but remain weak, while business confidence was ”mediocre” as mining capital expenditure reached its lowest in more than a decade, a National Australia Bank survey found.

”It’s a story of a grinding improvement,” JPMorgan economist Ben Jarman said. ”Rates have dropped a lot lower and what we’ve been waiting to see is the story of housing and the non-mining business sector picking up a bit more steam.”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Australia chief economist Saul Eslake said the housing revival was weaker than in previous recoveries, and was disproportionately dependent on investors rather than owner-occupiers. ”Given that investors are much more likely to buy existing dwellings than owner-occupiers, it raises the concern that the recovery in housing that we’re seeing will do more for prices and less for volumes of housing activity.”

At the same time, a separate survey by recruitment group Manpower found hiring intentions remained soft, with employers taking a ”wait-and-see approach”.

The Australian dollar has lost almost 9 per cent since the RBA slashed rates to a half-century low of 2.75 per cent in early May. Apart from domestic economic concerns, investors were also worried about the US’s quantitative easing program and a slowdown in China’s economy.

Goldman Sachs currency strategists said they were lowering their three-month dollar forecasts from US97¢ to US92¢. They expect the dollar to trade around US90¢ in six months and US85¢ in a year.

Mr Jarman said the transition towards the non-mining sectors of the economy was ”too late, and not sufficiently clean”.

Financial markets are pricing in a 50 per cent chance the central bank will ease rates by 25 basis points in July, Credit Suisse data showed, and at least one more rate cut by the end of this year.

Elizabeth Knight- Page 40

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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