Investing.com - The Australian dollar ended Friday’s session at a five-month high against its U.S. counterpart, as traders reassessed their expectations for how quickly the Federal Reserve will roll back its stimulus program following the release of disappointing U.S. employment data.
AUD/USD rose to 0.9306 on Friday, the pair’s highest since November 21, before subsequently consolidating at 0.9292 by close of trade on Friday, up 0.66% for the day and 0.47% higher for the week.
The pair is likely to find support at 0.9204, the low from April 3 and resistance at 0.9332, the high from November 21.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March, below expectations for jobs growth of 200,000. February’s figure was revised up to 197,000 from a previously reported 175,000.
The U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7%, compared to expectations for a tick down to 6.6%.
The data disappointed some market expectations for a more robust reading but indicated that the Federal Reserve is likely to stick to the current pace of reductions to its asset purchase program.
The Aussie drew additional support from hopes that China will implement economic stimulus measures in the near-term to shore up slowing growth.
The Asian nation is Australia’s biggest trade partner.
Meanwhile, in Australia, official data released Thursday showed that retail sales rose 0.2% in February, less than the expected 0.3% increase.
A separate report showed that Australia''s trade surplus narrowed to A$1.20 billion in February, from A$1.39 billion in January. Analysts had expected the trade surplus to narrow to A$0.82 billion in February.
The data came after the Reserve Bank of Australia held its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 2.50% at the conclusion of its policy meeting on Tuesday.
Commenting on the decision, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said borrowing costs were likely to remain low for an extended period of time.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that speculators significantly reduced their bearish bets on the Australian dollar for the third consecutive week in the week ending April 1.
Net shorts totaled 4,880 contracts, compared to net shorts of 20,527 in the preceding week.
In the week ahead, market players will be focusing on Wednesday’s minutes of the Fed’s most recent policy setting meeting for further clues on the future course of monetary policy.
Australian employment data scheduled for Thursday will also be closely-watched.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Monday, April 7
Markets in China will be closed for a national holiday.
Tuesday, April 8
Australia is to publish private sector reports on business confidence.
Wednesday, April 9
Australia is to release private sector data on consumer sentiment, as well as official data on home loans.
Later Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is to publish what will be the closely watched minutes of its latest policy meeting.
Thursday, April 10
Australia is to release data on the change in the number of people employed and the unemployment rate, in addition to private sector data on inflation expectations.
In the U.S., the Labor Department is to release its weekly report on initial jobless claims.
Friday, April 11
China is to produce data on consumer price inflation.
The U.S. is to round up the week with data on producer price inflation and the preliminary report on the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index.
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