The NAB Bank hiked mortgage rates hurting the AUD - APAC Update

The NAB Bank were hiking mortgage rates by 12-16 basis points.

Xe Corporate APAC

January 24, 2019 3 min read

The AUD opens at 0.7085, and the NZD opens at 0.6762.

A bit of a mixed day for the Kiwi, more of a passenger than driving things. The AUD was the big mover, with slightly positive unemployment data, which was unfortunately lower than expected.

This move was short-lived however, with a relatively sudden announcement from the NAB Bank, that they were hiking mortgage rates by 12-16 basis points. This hurts the AUD in two ways. The more serious implication is that as Australia’s housing market falls, (currently experiencing its sharpest downturn in 20 years, off 10% on the year), home owners may start to get underwater. Add on to that their costs have now increased, it is only going to exacerbate and accelerate the drop. If this flows onto the wider economy, (which is already softening due to the slowdown in China), then you have the making of a very rough 2019.

Even if these circumstances don't happen quite as dramatically as some predict, the RBA could move to try and stop these circumstances from happening. The result would be to either have rates on hold for longer, or indeed cut the OCR to try to bring borrowing costs down. This is the second issue weighing on the AUD, and to my mind, both could give this sell-off some serious legs. To put it in a Kiwi perspective, the further Australian house prices drop, the more fallible the myths that “NZ is different” and “Prices will never drop here” will be. Hence the Kiwi tends to fall in parallel with the AUD.

In more positive news, US jobless claims beat expectations, coming in at 199k, the lowest level in almost 50 years. This helped the USD gain, but seems a long way away from creating a risk on mentality.

Out of Europe, the ECB didn’t rock the boat, leaving the Main Refinancing Rate at 0%.With the caveat of news out from the Trade war, Shutdown, G20 summit or Brexit negotiations, a quiet weekend is expected. There is a public holiday in Australia and Auckland on Monday, so the vast majority of currencies will only be able to settle on Tuesday.

Global equity markets are mixed, Dow -0.53%, S&P 500 -0.22%, FTSE -0.35%, DAX +0.53%, CAC +0.65%, Nikkei -0.09%, Shanghai +0.41%.Gold prices are off a touch at $1,279 an ounce. WTI Crude Oil prices are up 1.0% trading at $53.12 a barrel.

Mid-market rates
AUDUSD0.7085-0.8%NZDUSD0.6762-0.4%AUDEUR0.62720.0%NZDEUR0.59860.4%AUDGBP0.5443-0.3%NZDGBP0.51950.0%AUDJPY77.69-0.7%NZDJPY74.16-0.3%AUDNZD1.0477-0.3%NZDAUD0.95420.3%GBPAUD1.83710.3%NZDCAD0.9033-0.4% GBPNZD1.92470.0%
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