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AUD/USD Extends Gains as Inflation Higher Than Expected

The Australian dollar has edged higher on Wednesday. In the European session, AUD/USD is trading at 0.6504, up 0.27%. The Australian dollar rose as high as 0.6529 (0.64%) after the Australian inflation release but has pared about half of those gains.

Australia’s inflation dips less than forecast

Australia’s inflation rate slowed less than expected in the first quarter. Inflation rose 3.6% y/y in Q1, down sharply from 4.1% in the fourth quarter but above the market estimate of 3.4%. This was the lowest rate since Q4 2024 and the drop was widespread across most components of inflation.

Inflation accelerated in March on a quarterly basis (0.6% to 1%) and monthly (3.4% to 3.5%), as services inflation remains sticky. A key core inflation indicator, the trimmed mean, accelerated to 1% q/q, above the market estimate of 0.8%. Annually, the trimmed mean slowed to 4%, down from 4.2%.

The inflation numbers were higher than what the market was expecting and the Reserve Bank of Australia will be concerned, in particular with the 1% rise in the trimmed mean. The markets pared the probability of a rate cut in May to 3% after the inflation report and have not fully priced a quarter-point drop until February 2025.

The RBA is likely done with its rate-tightening cycle, which has boosted the cash rate to 4.25%, but has paused three straight times. The central bank has shown it can be patient and is unlikely to lower rates until underlying inflation eases and the tight labor market shows signs of cracks.

AUD/USD Technical

  • AUD/USD tested support at 0.6487 earlier. Below, there is support at 0.6424
  • 0.6555 and 0.6618 are the next resistance lines

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