The Australian dollar plummeted more than 3% against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday in Asia.
The AUD/USD pair lost 3.2% to 0.5583 by 12:30 AM ET (04:30 GMT). The pair was already down before the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) dropped interest rates to 0.25% as expected, which is a record low.
“The Board will not increase the cash rate target until progress is being made towards full employment and it is confident that inflation will be sustainably within the 2–3% target band,” said RBA Governor Philip Lowe.
“At some point, the virus will be contained and the Australian economy will recover. In the interim, a priority for the Reserve Bank is to support jobs, incomes and businesses, so that when the health crisis recedes, the country is well placed to recover strongly,” he added.
Meanwhile, data showed today that Australia’s unemployment rate unexpectedly declined in February.
The jobless rate fell to 5.1% from 5.3%, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Thursday, against expectations it would remain unchanged.
Employment jumped 26,700 last month, compared with economists’ estimates of a 6,300 gain. The unemployment rate was aided by an edge down in participation to 66%.
The ABS said in the report that “there was no notable impact” from the recent bushfires or COVID-19. Yet it said,“the February reference period was in the first half of the month and pre-dates the notable increases in confirmed cases in Australia of COVID-19.”
The bureau added that “as with other major disruption to the economy, early impacts are usually most evident in the monthly hours worked.”
The USD/JPY pair was up 1.0% to 109.16. The Bank of Japan offered to buy 1 trillion yen ($9.2 billion) of government bonds in another unscheduled operation.
The EUR/USD pair slipped 0.2% to 1.0893 after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced an asset purchase program worth 750 billion euros ($820 billion) to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The program will continue until central bank judges the crisis phase of the pandemic to be over, but not before the end of this year.
“Extraordinary times require extraordinary action. There are no limits to our commitment to the euro,” President Christine Lagarde said.
The U.S. dollar index was up 0.2% to 101.752.