The Aussie dollar fluctuated either side of break-even overnight in what appears to of been a largely risk-neutral session from US perspective. We did however see mild strength from US equities and commodity markets which assisted the local unit to remain fairly buoyant over the course of US trade. As anticipated the Fed's FOMC kept benchmark interest rates on hold between zero and 25 bps with the accompanying statement providing more of the same tepid language.
While specific areas of the economy have shown improvement, stubbornly high unemployment remains the Fed's key stumbling block, thus we've seen no significant deviation from the fed's mildly positive outlook. The fed also announced no change to the quantitative easing plans, keeping the US$600b stimulus to support the economic recovery untouched. Economic news from the US overnight saw new home sales outstrip estimates recording 17.5 percent leap in December against an expect rise of 3.5 percent.
Across the Atlantic, Sterling outperformed its major counterparts after the minutes from the Bank of England's monetary policy meeting this month revealed another committee member voted to increase benchmark rates along-side long term dissenter Andrew Sentence.
In the absence of major market moving data we expect the local and Asian equity markets to be the key directive for the Aussie dollar in the day ahead, with key support towards around the 99.30 US cent levels looking like a floor for price activity. Any move to the upside overnight was met with resistance between 99.9 US cents and parity levels - barring any significant upturn in equity markets we expect this theme to continue today in domestic trade. At the time of writing the Aussie dollar is buying 99.85 US cents.