The Australian dollar extended its previous session’s downtrend against its major opponents on Thursday morning in Asia as a slide in most Asian stocks prompted traders to refrain from higher-yielding currencies. The aussie slumped to a 16-day low against the Canadian dollar and a 2-day low against the rest of majors.
The Australian stock market is trading weak today with investors indulging in some profit taking following a flat close on Wall Street overnight. Energy, materials, financials, consumer staples and healthcare stocks are mostly down in negative territory.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is down 56.3 points or 1.1% at 4,898. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,928, down 52.5 points or 1.1% from its previous close.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are trading notably lower. New Zealand, Singapore and Shanghai are also trading weak, while Malaysia is up marginally.
In economic news, new vehicle sales in Australia fell a seasonally adjusted 2.7% month-on-month in March to 83,200, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said today. This follows a 1.9% fall in sales in February. Compared to March 2009, vehicle sales jumped 19.2%.
Extending its 3-day losing streak, the Australian dollar tumbled to a 16-day low of 0.9248 against the Canadian dollar by 10:10 pm ET Wednesday. On the downside, the next likely support level is seen at 0.92 for the aussie. The Aussie-loonie pair that was worth 0.9270 at Wednesday’s North American session close is currently quoted at 0.9270.
The Australian dollar fell to a 2-day low of 85.86 against the Japanese yen and 0.9249 against the US dollar by this time, compared to Wednesday’s New York session closing quotes of 86.40 and 0.9271, respectively. The next downside target level for the Australian dollar is likely to be seen at 0.9170 against the greenback and 85.20 versus the yen.
Japan saw a trade surplus of 948.9 billion yen in March, the Ministry of Finance said today. That was below analyst expectations for a 975.4 billion yen surplus following the revised 649.6 billion yen surplus in February.
Imports were up 20.7 percent on year – roughly in line with expectations for a 21.0 percent increase after the 29.5 percent annual expansion in the previous month. Exports collected an annual 43.5 percent – slightly below forecasts for a 45.9 percent increase on year after the 45.3 percent annual gain a month earlier.
The Australian dollar also reached a 2-day low of 1.4475 against the euro and 1.3035 against the NZ dollar around 10:10 pm ET and this may be compared to Wednesday’s New York session closing values of 1.4452 and 1.3070, respectively. On the downside, the aussie may target support levels at 1.4770 against the euro and 1.2950 against the New Zealand dollar.
Looking ahead, French business confidence indicator and the PMI reports from the major European economies- all for the month of April are expected in the upcoming European session.
Turning to the U.S., data on producer prices, weekly jobless claims and existing home sales are due in the North American session.