SYDNEY (Reuters) - Analysts again upgraded their outlook for the Australian dollar in the latest Reuters poll, but were left lagging far behind the market which has already surpassed the one-year target after a week of blistering gains.
Median forecasts for the Aussie AUD=D3 were raised by around a cent to $0.6400 in one month, $0.6450 in three and $0.6800 on a one-year horizon.
Yet the currency was trading at $0.6940 on Friday having climbed 4% just this week, reaching a five-month peak at $0.6988 at one stage. That beat out even the most bullish one-month forecast of $0.6842, which came from OCBC.
The sea change has seen local banks scramble to upgrade their forecasts for the currency. National Australia Bank on Thursday lifted their forecast for June by 6 cents to $0.6800 and for September by 6 cents to $0.7000.
Westpac currency strategist, Sean Callow, cautioned the rally had stretched well beyond fair value driven in large part by markets pricing in a global economic pick up even as the actual data remains largely dire.
Reflecting this, the Aussie has had a particularly strong correlation with the S&P 500 during the past month, higher than interest rate differentials or commodities.
“The contrast is stark between such price action and appalling economic activity data, so risk currencies are likely to be overshooting,” said Callow. “We still see AUD lower multi-month, yet only the brave would call an immediate end to the risk rally.”
The New Zealand dollar has also outpaced analysts, having surged 4.3% this week to reach $0.6469 NZD=D3. That was a world away from the trough of $0.5469 touched during the market chaos of mid-March.
It was also well beyond analysts’ median forecasts of $0.6000 in one month and $0.6100 in three, and topped the one-year call of $0.6400.
NAB had again just upgraded its forecasts by around four cents and now tipped the kiwi at $0.6300 by June and $0.6600 by December.
“As the sheer depth and breadth of the global fiscal and monetary policy response to Covid-19 continues to influence sentiment, the NZ Dollar rides on the coattails of a seemingly unstoppable wave of increasing global risk appetite,” said Hamish Wilkinson, a senior dealer at Kiwibank.
“With seemingly no other alternative for risk assets in a low interest rate world, we wouldn’t be surprised to see continued NZ Dollar strength.”
Polling by Sumanto Mondal and Hari Kishan; Editing by Kim Coghill