SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) – The Australian dollar appears poised to extend gains against the yen as expectations of faster economic recovery gain traction and fears around the omicron variant ease.
The Aussie, which advanced 3 per cent last week to over 81 yen, is seen extending gains to 83 by the end of March next year, according to a Bloomberg survey of currency analysts.
The pair declined by about 6 per cent last month as growing worries over the impact of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus roiled global markets.
“As long as the news about Omicron isn’t bad, we expect Aussie-yen to resume its uptrend,” said Mr Kim Mundy, currency strategist and international economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.
“The global economic recovery is both supportive for the Australian dollar and a headwind to the yen.”
The currencies are likely to see their fortunes diverge in coming weeks as bets of a faster economic recovery in Australia stoke wagers for policy normalisation, which may boost the local dollar.
On the other hand, optimism about the global economic recovery may impinge on the haven yen, as would expectations that the Bank of Japan will maintain its dovish policy for longer.
Technicals are also signaling that the worst may be over for the Aussie versus its Japanese peer. The pair bounced off support at its September low, never threatening levels seen in October – a bullish sign.
The Aussie may also get a boost from Thursday’s employment data and major trading partner China’s pledge to take measures to support its economic growth. A strong print would vindicate the Reserve Bank of Australia’s upbeat economic outlook last week, when it said Omicron was not expected to derail the recovery, and predicted the economy to return to its pre-Delta path in the first half of next year.
Employment for last month is predicted to have risen by 200,000 jobs, with the country’s unemployment rate falling to 5 per cent from 5.2 per cent previously.
“With the Australian economy likely to be on a strong enough footing to keep markets pricing in substantial RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) rate hike risks for 2022”, any dip in the Aussie would be seen as a buying opportunity into the new year, said Westpac Banking senior currency strategist Sean Callow.
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