All eyes on the RBA today, Aussie dollar lower ahead of decision, ASX futures up 14 points

Today is all about the RBA's rate decision. Coming into the 2:30pm (Sydney) RBA meeting today, we have cash rate futures pricing in a 60% chance of a 25 basis point rate cut today, which would take us to a 2.00% overnight rate. As I pointed out yesterday, however, the market is convinced that there is close to a 100% chance of this cut occurring at either today's meeting or next month's meeting, so even if there is no cut today (the RBA may view two consecutive cuts as too much too soon), traders may take the view that the inevitable has simply been pushed out by one month. The caveat to this is that the statement that accompanies today's decision may change the mood of the market. But the statement from RBA Governor Glenn Stevens last month kicked off with model global growth and declining commodity prices, and there really is no change this month to those phenomena. There seem to be no new inflationary pressures in Australia that will likely be worrying the RBA and global dis-inflationary pressures persist, so I would imagine that the mood of the statement will be quite consistent with February. Let's see what happens after 2:30pm, but I suspect that--cut or no cut--the market will continue to trade on the basis that a cash rate of 2.00% or lower is imminent.

I've stuck with the S&P 500 with today's first chart, showing that my suggestion yesterday of it looking like rolling over was wrong for now. US markets held up well and remain near record highs. ASX futures, which were up 14 points last night, crept cautiously higher into today's trading day and if traders get the cut that the (small) majority are betting on, we'll likely see 6,000 today on the ASX 200.

For all of the oil traders out there, check out today's second chart, which shows year-to-date percentage moves in WTI versus Brent crude. WTI (OILUS in black) is down 5.6% for the year, while Brent is up almost 6%. Prior to last night, however, Brent was up over 10% - so is this the beginning of a contraction in the WTI/Brent spread? Those betting that excessive US inventories will begin to subside might wish to take a market neutral bet on the narrowing spread by selling OILUK and buying OILUS simultaneously.

Lastly we saw some selling in the AUDUSD currency pair last night. The US dollar strengthened a little and likely triggered some stops out of the Aussie. This may have the effect of muting the sell-off if the RBA cuts today, while a hold would likely see a reversal of last night's sell-off.

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Upcoming economic announcements: RBA rate decision at 2:30pm, Swiss GDP at 4pm, German retail sales at 6pm, Canadian GDP out at 12:30am, all Sydney time.

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