Apr 3, 2019

Australian dollar whipsaws after country enters "per capita recession"

The Australian dollar whipsawed in currency markets following its central bank's latest meeting. It was the weakest major currency in the world Tuesday morning after the Reserve Bank of Australia changed its statement to a more dovish stance.

Why it matters: Australia's GDP growth has shrunk on a per-capita basis in the last 2 quarters, entering a "per-capita recession" for the first time in 13 years. The country hasn't seen an outright growth recession in nearly 30 years, so investors are on high alert.

  • It was the first rewrite of the final paragraphs of the RBA's statement "in ages," NAB foreign exchange strategist Rodrigo Catril told Australia's ABC News.
  • "Traders are starting to position for a series of easing actions from Asian central banks," said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX Strategy at BK Asset Management.
  • "Australian rates markets are now pricing in as much as 80% possibility that a rate cut will take place before the end of the year."

The big picture: Australia is seen as a proxy for China because of how much its major industries rely on trade with the world's No. 2 economy. Movements in the Australian dollar tend to reflect views on China, as its yuan currency is still far less traded on global FX markets.

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