$A down ahead of Macfarlane speech on Tuesday

Submitted by Craig Strzelecki on 12 December, 2005 - 09:34

Australian dollar opened slightly weaker on Monday despite support from the recent commodity price surge - Market awaits speech: The Australian dollar opened slightly weaker on Monday despite support from the recent commodity price surge, while investors prepare for central bank governor Ian Macfarlane's address on Tuesday.

At 7am (AEDT), the local unit was trading at US74.83¢, below Friday's close of US75.13¢.

Over the weekend, it hit a high of US75.24¢ and a low of US74.93¢.

Deutsche Bank foreign exchange strategist John Horner said with a quiet data week ahead the main focus will be the Reserve Bank of Australia governor's speech.

"Our focus this week will very much be (Governor) Macfarlane's speech on Tuesday and also the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) minutes being released in the US on Tuesday night," he said.

The US FOMC meets to vote on interest rates with the market broadly expecting another 25 basis point hike to 4.25 per cent.

Mr Horner said the market will be looking for Governor Mcfarlane's comments to be a bit more hawkish, so that should support the Australian dollar.

ANZ analysts said last week's rebound in Australian employment, together with third quarter wage cost data, brings back to market discussion of a potential rate hike by the central bank.

"The issue for the local currency will be whether rate hike expectations are brought forward if the run of robust employment and wage costs data threatens the top of the RBA's inflation band," they said.

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