09-05-2023 09:01 AM | Source: Reuters
Dollar steadies, Aussie slips as RBA looms
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The dollar was firm on Tuesday and the Aussie under a little pressure as traders watched out for the Reserve Bank of Australia's interest rate decision with bets that rates may have peaked.

The Aussie was 0.5% lower at $0.6431 in early trade. Softer than expected inflation data for July has markets all but certain the cash rate will stay on hold at 4.1% when the RBA announces its decision in the next few hours, far lower than where U.S. overnight rates are at about 5.25-5.5%.

The meeting is Governor Philip Lowe's last before Michelle Bullock takes over, and focus will be on what can be gleaned from the outlook. Australia cut its wheat export forecast on Tuesday, though current account data showed that for the second quarter volumes for all exports helped to boost the economy.

Currency markets had been steady overnight, with volumes lightened by a U.S. holiday and with little economic data to gauge whether global hiking cycles might also be at an end.

The euro drifted higher from recent lows and was steady at $1.0793 early in the Asia session. U.S. Treasuries opened lower in Asia, after the cash market was closed on Monday, with 10-year yields up 3 basis points to 4.20%.

The yen dipped overnight and analysts see it grinding toward 150 per dollar unless there is a sharp change in the gap between Japanese yields, pegged near zero, and U.S. yields comfortably above 4%. A dollar last bought 146.55 yen.

A Japanese government bond auction on Tuesday has the potential to shift things, if it goes awry and yields jump - though a slump in household spending could keep a lid on rates.

"I do believe that 150 probably will be defended again and the Ministry of Finance really probably wants to implant that in the market players," said Bart Wakabayashi, Tokyo branch manager at State Street Bank, referring to government FX intervention.

Elsewhere the focus is on where the data is guiding interest rates in the west and whether a drip feed of stimulatory measures in China point to Beijing stepping up economic support.

Relaxations on home-purchase restrictions are expected, and China has been cutting interest rates while stepping in to shore up the currency. The yuan held at 7.2825 on Tuesday.

PMI data is due later in the session, as are European producer prices - though they tend not to deviate much from previously released estimates - and U.S. factory orders.

"The big thing is how the data pulse in each country plays out, which will inform whether these tightening cycles are definitely done - or maybe not," said Imre Speizer, strategist at Westpac in Auckland. "It's a waiting game."

Sterling hovered at $1.2624. The New Zealand dollar slipped 0.2% to a one-week low of $0.5926