SYDNEY: The Australian and New Zealand dollars suffered a fresh setback on Monday when stunningly weak economic data out of China stoked fears of a global recession, undermining risk assets and commodities.
Chinese retail sales sank 11.1% in April from a year earlier, far beyond forecasts of a 6.1% drop and testimony to how tough coronavirus lockdowns have been there.
Industrial output also fell a steep 2.9% on the year, in a grim omen for resource demand.
The Asian giant is Australia’s biggest export market and the Aussie is often used as a liquid proxy for the yuan.
The data offset news Shanghai authorities were aiming to reopen and allow normal life to resume from June 1.
The Aussie duly retreated 0.6% to $0.6896, away from a top of $0.6960 earlier in the day and unwinding much of the bounce it managed on Friday. That risks a retest of last week’s two-year trough of $0.6829 and a decline to at least $0.6777, a technical bear target.
The kiwi lost 0.7% to $0.6240, erasing Friday’s rally to $0.6290. Chart support lies at the recent low of $0.6219 and the psychological $0.6000 bulwark.
The deepening slowdown in China will be a worry for the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) as it ponders whether, and by how much, to raise the 0.35% cash rate in June.
The market is still priced for a hike to 0.60%, but has scaled back wagers on a move of 40 or 50 basis points.
Futures also imply rates around 2.75% by the end of the year rather than 3.0%, though that would still be one of the most aggressive tightening cycles on record.
Minutes of the RBA’s May policy meeting due on Tuesday could offer more detail on what the Board was thinking on the pace of hikes and the eventual end point for rates.
Wednesday sees the release of wages figures for the first quarter where annual growth is seen picking up to a seven-year high.