AUD/USD drops to its lowest level since March 10, further below 0.6600 ahead of US PCE

The AUD/USD pair attracts fresh selling near the 0.6640-0.6645 area on Friday and extends its intraday descent through the first half of the European session. The downward trajectory drags spot prices to the 0.6580-0.6575 region, or the lowest level since March 10, and is sponsored by resurgent US Dollar (USD) demand.

In fact, the USD Index (DXY), which tracks the Greenback against a basket of currencies, climbs to a fresh weekly top and draws support from firming expectations for another 25 bps lift-off at the next FOMC meeting in May. The bets for additional rate hikes by the US central bank were reaffirmed by the US macro data released on Thursday, which indicated persistent inflationary pressures and that the US job market remains healthy despite an economic slowdown.

Moreover, the Bank of Japan (BoJ)-inspired sell-off in the Japanese Yen (JPY), along with a generally weaker tone surrounding the equity markets, further benefit the safe-haven buck and drive flows away from the risk-sensitive Aussie. Apart from this,
technical selling below the 0.6600 round-figure mark aggravates the bearish pressure and contributes to the AUD/USD pair’s steep intraday decline. Spot prices now move back closer to the YTD low touched in March.

Investors now look forward to the release of the US Core PCE Price Index – the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge – due later during the early North American session. Given that the markets have been pricing in a pause in the Fed’s rate-hiking cycle after May, a stronger reading might prompt aggressive short-covering around the USD and pave the way for a further depreciating move for the AUD/USD pair. Nevertheless, spot prices remain on track to register heavy weekly losses.

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