Australian Dollar Outlook - 18 February 2013

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By Christine Gaylican | February 18, 2013 10:56 AM EST

Bell FX Currency Outlook: The Australian Dollar has opened below 1.0300 this morning as markets on Friday night had a generally quiet session.

Australia: The AUD has continued to drift lower as the G-20 meeting in Moscow concluded and economic data from the US was generally better than expected. The official communique from the G-20 leaders pledged that they would not intentionally target their own exchange rates to stimulate growth but would instead focus on other macroeconomic policies in order to stimulate their local economies.

The IMF Managing Director Lagarde said that headlines relating to 'currency wars" were exaggerated. Japan, which has weakened its currency over the last several months, did not come in for specific criticism.

Equity markets were quiet with the major US indices virtually unchanged from Thursday and European equities slightly weaker.

Locally banks continue to review their forecasts for further cuts in the cash rate of 3% with the ANZ now saying there will be only two more rate cuts in 2013 to the value of 50bps rather than their earlier prediction of 100 bps.

Tomorrow we will see the release of the RBA's February board minutes and Governor Stevens appears before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics on Friday.Sandwiched in between will be Wednesday's Q4 wage price index figures.

Markets will be quiet tonight due to the US Presidents Day holiday. The Canadian market will also be closed for a holiday today (Family Day).

Majors: In the US, the regional empire survey (for the New York metropolitan area) for manufacturing for February rebounded strongly from last month's levels registering a figure of 10 versus the -2.0 expected and
last month's -7.8.

The University of Michigan's consumer confidence forecast index for this month came in at 76.3 versus a lower expected
figure of 74.8. On a sobering note Wal-Mart noted that their February sales have had the slowest start in seven years.

In the UK, retail sales fell more than expected in January, down 0.6% m-o-m. The USDJPY rate hovers around 94 with most analysts now predicting a level of 100 within the near term.

Although Japan avoided direct criticism at the G-20 meeting, the market expects the government to continue with policies that will further weaken it currency.

All Asian financial markets will reopen after last week's Chinese New Year holidays.
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For latest pricing, ranges, please visit www.bellpotter.com.au

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