We stretched this chart of the Australian Dollar out over a longer timeline in order to show nearly the complete decline over the course of the last couple of years since making the all-time high around $1.10 to the U.S. Dollar. The long-term nature of this chart also provides a good example of the commercial trader category’s typical behavior, both good and bad. Finally, we’ll tie this back in at the end as we are nearing a critical juncture in the Australian Dollar and, commodities in general.
We’ve discussed many times that the standard disposition of commercial traders is value hunting. Commercial traders are the ones producing or, consuming a given commodity. Obviously, commercial traders don’t directly produce or, consume currencies but, global central banks and large, multi-national corporations do position themselves appropriately as they anticipate their future economic environment and their actions are reflected in the commercial trader category of the weekly Commitment of Traders report. Just consider the recent events by the People’s Bank of China or, the amount of money that giant global bond funds manage as they neutralize currency risk a la, the Federal Reserve Board’s actions in concert with the Department of the Treasury to sterilize the stimulus that has been added to the Fed’s balance sheet. Furthermore, the relative strength of an indigenous currency is a the lens through which a sovereign nation’s future economic outlook can be gauged.
Moving directly to the relationship between the U.S. Dollar versus the Australian Dollar there are some general points that should be made at the macro level. According to World Bank data, Australian mining contributes more than 10% of the Gross Domestic Product for 2014 and agriculture adds nearly another 3.5% of their GDP. These two sectors of their economy do the heavy work of balancing their trade and foreign reserves. Finally, the bulk of this trade is with China. Therefore, as the commodity markets and China go, so goes the Australian Dollar.
All commodity markets have been devastated over the last couple of years as the world works through the lingering effects of the economic crash of 2007-2009 and the flood of money pumped into the global economies that has yet to cause the anticipated inflation. As usual, markets get ahead of themselves. As anticipated inflation failed to materialize, commodity based currencies were pummeled. The Australian Dollar has declined nearly 35% since April of 2013. The recent rally that began in September was tipped off by the commercial traders’ actions along with a COT buy signal ahead of the move. This rally has now brought us up to trend line resistance stemming from the April, 2013 high. The commercial traders last had this type of selling opportunity in May of this year and sold more than 100,000 contracts in short order.
As you can see, we’ve reached these levels once again. While the prices may be different, we expect a similar outcome. Commercial traders, as value traders, sell when they believe a market is over valued within their time frame and obviously turn buyers given the opposite set of circumstances. This is why they tend to nail the market’s turns but get stuck in continuation patterns. We don’t believe that inflation is here or that global growth will accelerate fast enough at the industrial or agricultural ends of the spectrum sufficiently to support a commodity heavy currency. Therefore, we expect this rally to top out shortly and bring about a return of commercial trader selling which will reinforce the downward sloping trend line now coming in near $.7490 in the December Australian Dollar futures.
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