Australian Dollar Soft on Market Sentiment, Weak Economic Data

The Australian dollar was soft today. While it managed to gain on the US and Canadian dollars, the Aussie fell against other most-traded currencies. It declined even against its New Zealand counterpart, which is also considered riskier commodity currency. The market sentiment remained in a risk-off mode, weighing on Australian currency, and Australia’s macroeconomic releases were not helping either.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that retail sales fell by 0.3% in January from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis. That was a total surprise to market participants, who were expecting a flat reading. Furthermore, the December decline got a revision from 0.5% to 0.7%.
The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Services Index fell from 47.4 in January to 47.0 points in February. A reading below 50.0 indicates a contraction of the industry. In fact, it was the third consecutive month of decline. Unsurprisingly, the main reasons for the decline were bushfires and the coronavirus as the report explained:

Respondents to the Australian PSI® said following the disruption to consumer demand and business conditions from bushfires and related smoke pollution, February was close to a return to business as usual but at a reduced level. The most frequently reported concern for businesses was the effect of a possible global pandemic of coronavirus COVID-19.

Talking about the coronavirus, it looks like China managed to slow the spread of the disease. But the deadly COVID-19 infection continues to spread across other countries, South Korea being the biggest center of the outbreak outside of China.
AUD/USD rose from 0.6608 to 0.6633 as of 16:19 GMT today. EUR/AUD advanced from 1.6987 to 1.7072. AUD/CAD rallied from 0.8868 to 0.8912. AUD/NZD tumbled from 1.0488 to 1.0432.

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