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GBP/USD: EU punishes the pound

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The cable has dropped below 1.29, hitting the lowest levels since November amid Brexit concerns and USD strength. Speculation about EU-UK relations and coronavirus headlines are set to move the pound, according to FXStreet’s Yohay Elam.

Key quotes

“The bloc could reportedly try to move the clearing of euro contracts from London to within the EU and may also move to withdraw concessionOfficial negotiations will kick off on March 3, but press briefings and leaks suggest talks will be tough.”

“The US dollar remains underpinned by upbeat figures such as the Non-Farm Payrolls report which showed an increase of 225,000 jobs in January.”

“Coronavirus headlines are also benefitting the greenback, which benefits from safe-haven flows. The respiratory disease has taken the lives of over 900 people with over 40,000 infected, the vast majority in China.” 


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GBP/USD Exchange Rate to Tumble if UK GDP Stalled at the End of 2020?

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GBP/USD Exchange Rate Steady ahead of UK GDP Figures

The Pound US Dollar (GBP/USD) exchange rate is holding its ground at the start of this week’s session as markets brace for publication of the UK’s latest GDP estimate.

At the time of writing the GBP/USD exchange rate is trading at around $1.2928, virtually unchanged from today’s opening rate.

Pound (GBP) to Slump as UK Growth Stagnates?

The Pound (GBP) looks poised to slump on Tuesday as the UK publishes its latest GDP figures.

Barring a significant uptick in economic activity in December, tomorrow’s estimate of GDP is expected to show that the UK economy stalled in the last quarter of 2019.

The likely stagnation of growth comes amid heightened political uncertainty in the UK in the run up to December’s general election.

Should growth have stalled in line with expectations in the fourth quarter, it’s also likely to keep the pressure on the Bank of England (BoE) to ease it monetary policy in the near-term, potentially opening the door to an interest rate cut in March.

Coronavirus Fears to Underpin Demand for the US Dollar (USD)?

Meanwhile, the US Dollar (USD) looks likely to remain well supported this week as markets continue to panic over the coronavirus outbreak in China.

While reports of new cases are beginning to slow, the global death toll has now risen to over 900 topping that of the Sars outbreak in 2003, which was estimated to have cost the global economy over $30bn.

Economists predict that the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on global growth will be significantly more serve due to China’s greater role in global trade, but it remains unclear just how large an impact this will be.

‘New cases in China are stabilising but it’s now more deadly than SARS was. What’s still unknown is the real economic damage this has wrought. Markets will continue to find support from ample liquidity delivered by willing central banks and the buy-the-dip mentality lives on.

‘An explosion of cases in London or New York could spook traders still…the UK government calls the coronavirus a ‘serious and imminent threat’ to public health.’

As a result is highly likely the US Dollar will remain in demand this week as investors continue to flock to safe-haven assets.


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Asian Stocks Slip, Yuan Fluctuates on Virus News: Markets Wrap

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Stocks slipped across the Asia Pacific on Monday as investors continued trying to gauge when economic activity might rebound after the hit from the coronavirus.

Benchmarks in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul were lower, though moves eased following a report that Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL).’s main manufacturer got a green light to resume some production. That reversed declines in U.S. equity futures, which traded slightly higher as of noon in Tokyo. The Australian dollar climbed and the yuan rose past 7 per dollar offshore. Treasuries were flat, while oil traded around $50 a barrel in New York.

With cases outside of China continuing to increase, investors will be monitoring whether the rate of change kicks up a gear. Meantime, monetary authorities across emerging markets have stepped in. The People’s Bank of China moved to keep liquidity ample Monday through reverse-repurchase agreements.

“This coronavirus seems to be going on for longer, is infecting more people and the hit to growth will be longer,” Diana Mousina, an economist at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., told Bloomberg TV in Sydney. “You won’t be able to recoup all of the negative impacts in the first quarter.”

Here are some key events coming up:

  • Earnings season continues with reports including: Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Softbank, Nissan, Airbus, Nestle and AIG (NYSE:AIG).
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivers his semiannual testimony in Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Thursday brings a gauge of underlying U.S. inflation, the core consumer price index. It’s expected to increase to 0.2% in January, a faster pace than in December.
  • China and the U.S. on Friday lower tariffs on billions of dollars of respective imports, as part of the trade deal signed last month.

And these are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • Japan’s Topix index dropped 0.6%. as of 12:35 p.m. in Tokyo.
  • The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.4%
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 0.7%.
  • Futures on the S&P 500 were up 0.1%. The underlying gauge fell 0.5% on Friday.
  • South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 0.6%.
  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures slid 0.1%.

Currencies

  • The yen was little changed at 109.80 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan ticked up 0.2% to 6.9952 per dollar.
  • The euro bought $1.0951, little changed.
  • The Australian dollar gained 0.4% to 66.97 U.S. cents.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries was steady at 1.59%.
  • Australia’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to 1.02%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 0.2% to $50.22 a barrel.
  • Gold was little changed at $1,570.41 an ounce.

Forex - Yuan Recovers; Dollar Heads Higher as Trade Talks Hit Sterling

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The Chinese yuan benefited from the stronger tone in the country’s equity markets Tuesday, although concerns about the widening coronavirus outbreak have kept the gains capped.

At 03:05 ET (0805 GMT), USD/CNY traded at 6.9935, down 0.4%, pushing back below the 7.0 level after breaking through that barrier Monday for the first time this year.

The country's central bank has tried to mitigate the economic damage caused by the coronavirus by trimming interest rates and injecting 1.2 trillion yuan of liquidity into the markets.

Most expect more measures ahead.

"Chinese authorities have been providing a lot of support for the financial markets. There's a level of assurance that the rout would not be allowed to go on much further than necessary," said Christy Tan, head of markets strategy for Asia at National Australia Bank in Singapore.

Still, the number of coronavirus deaths in China continued to climb, reaching 425 as of the end of Monday, from over 20,000 cases, a mortality rate of barely 2%.

Elsewhere, the US Dollar Index Futures, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies, pushed up 0.2% to 97.767, helped by stronger than expected manufacturing sentiment data late Monday and weakness in sterling.

“The ISM manufacturing index has surged back into positive growth territory. The Phase One trade deal between the US and China has lifted much of the gloom hanging over the sector with businesses responding positively,” said ING, in a research note.

Sterling was weak Tuesday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief EU Negotiator Michel Barnier laid out opposing visions for the relationship between the two groups post-Brexit.

Fears still exist that the U.K. could end the transition period at the end of this year without a trade deal.

At 03:05 ET (0805 GMT), GBP/USD traded at 1.2957, down 0.3%, near a seven-week low.

Overnight, the Australian dollar rose after the Reserve Bank of Australia decided to hold the official cash rate steady at 0.75%. The decision was largely in line with expectation, but analysts do look for another rate cut in the near future.

At 03:05 ET (0805 GMT), the AUD/USD pair traded 0.4% higher to 0.6717.

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Dollar gains on upbeat manufacturing data, virus threats cap yuan

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The dollar held firm on Tuesday after a key U.S. manufacturing survey showed a surprise recovery, while concerns about a widening coronavirus outbreak in China kept the yuan and the Australian dollar subdued.

The dollar index (=USD) rose 0.44% on Monday, the biggest gain so far this year, and last stood at 97.802. It was boosted by a report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported that U.S. factory activity unexpectedly rebounded in January after contracting for five straight months amid a surge in new orders.

Against the yen, the dollar traded at 108.62 yen , after a gain of 0.3% on Monday, the biggest gain in a downtrend that started in mid-January.

The euro stood at $1.1062 (EUR=), having slipped 0.3% on Monday.

In Asia, coronavirus remained in focus as the number of cases and deaths showed little sign of slowdown.

"The question is how long it will take to contain the epidemic. While some people are selling risk assets, there are also lots of people who are looking for a chance for bargain-hunting," said Ayako Sera, market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.

"If we start to see a decline in the number of new cases, then we could see an end. But at the moment, it is hard to say when that will happen."

The offshore yuan traded at 7.0127 yuan per dollar , holding slightly above its one-month low of 7.0230 per dollar hit in European trade on Monday.

The Australian dollar fetched $0.6690 , within sight of its 10 1/2-year low of $0.6670 touched last October, ahead of an interest rate decision Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) due later in the day.

Although most investors expect the RBA to keep rates on hold at this month's meeting, a cut has not been completely ruled out, with markets pricing in a 100% chance of such a move by May.

Elsewhere, sterling fetched $1.2999 , having lost 1.54% on Monday on renewed worries about Britain's relations with the European Union. Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out tough terms for Brexit talks with the European Union, rekindling fears Britain would reach the end of an 11-month transition period without agreeing a trade deal.

Traders are also casting an eye on the U.S. state of Iowa, where Democrats are kicking off a process to choose a challenger to President Donald Trump.

Market players say a victory by a progressive candidate such Senator Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren could hurt shares and lift safe-haven currencies as some of their policies are thought to be not in best interests of Wall Street.


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Forex - U.S. Dollar Inches Up After Fed Holds Rates Unchanged as Expected

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The U.S. dollar inched up on Thursday in Asia after the Federal Reserve said it will hold its benchmark rates steady as expected.

The U.S. dollar index inched up 0.1% to 97.875 by 1:20 AM ET (05:20 GMT).

The central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee said it will hold the rates between 1.5% and 1.75%. It was the second straight meeting the Fed made no changes to rates following three rate cuts in 2019.

During his post-meeting news conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the Fed“wanted to underscore our commitment to 2% not being a ceiling, to inflation running symmetrically around 2% and we’re not satisfied with inflation running below 2%.”

"We expect (reserves to reach an ample level) during the second quarter and our plan, as we do that, is as those purchases get to that level we believe we can gradually reduce them and we believe we can also gradually reduce repo as we reach an ample level," he added.

The decision came just hours after data showed weaker-than-expected housing activity.

The National Association of Realtors' measure of pending home sales unexpectedly fell 4.9% to 103.2 in December. That was the biggest decline since May 2010.

The GBP/USD pair was little changed at 1.3013. The Bank of England is expected to hold rates unchanged later in the day.

The AUD/USD pair fell 0.2% to 0.6739, while the NZD/USD pair was also down 0.2% to 0.6509.

The safe-haven yen traded slightly higher against the U.S. dollar as Asian stocks fell amid coronavirus concerns.

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Forex - Dollar in Demand; Sterling Could Be Volatile

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The U.S. dollar remains in demand Thursday, after the Federal Reserve did nothing to signal any near-term easing of policy despite issuing a statement that was seen as slightly less confident about the economic outlook.

However, sterling could be the currency to keep an eye on in early trading in Europe, as the Bank of England meets to decide on its monetary policy.

At 03:00 ET (0800 GMT), the US Dollar Index Futures, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies, pushed up 0.1% to 97.895, trading near a two-month high.

The greenback is the best performing currency among G10 currencies in January, with the dollar index rising 1.6% so far this month. Commodity currencies such as the loonie and Aussie have suffered most, due to fears for Chinese growth amidst a spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Overnight China's National Health Commission said the total number of confirmed deaths had reached 170 as of late Wednesday, with the number of infected patients approaching 8,000. Infections have been reported in at least 15 other countries and in every province of mainland China.

This virus outbreak has resulted in weakness in many emerging currencies, with investors seeking out the safe haven status of the dollar. The offshore Chinese yuan briefly touched 7 to the dollar again overnight before strengthening just above that level later.

Elsewhere, sterling could be volatile Thursday, with a degree of uncertainty surrounding the meeting of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee.

At 03:00 AM ET (0800 GMT), GBP/USD traded at 0.2% lower at 1.3001, and EUR/GBP 0.2% higher at 0.8468.

At the start of the year the Bank of England was widely expected to cut interest rates at this meeting. A number of MPC members, including Governor Mark Carney, had spoken publicly about the weak state of the U.K. economy given the uncertainty surrounding the country’s exit from the European Union, which comes into effect on Friday.

However, economic data since then have been generally more positive than expected. For example, the services purchasing managers’ index – a gauge of the health of the country’s dominant sector – came in at 50 in December, ahead of a widely predicted reading of 49.2.

“Despite a few economic data releases that came out stronger than expected, we still expect the BoE to cut the Bank Rate by 25bp,” said analysts at Danske Bank, in a research note.

“ However, it is likely to be a close call, which is also reflected in market pricing, as investors are pricing a 45% probability of a cut, leaving some upside in EUR/GBP if we are right in our call,” 


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Forex - Dollar in Demand; Sterling Cou

Forex: Dollar Advance Kept in Check by Yen Amid Safe-Haven Rush

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The dollar remained on the back foot Monday, pressured by a surprise fall in new home sales data and a bid in the yen and Swiss franc as worries intensified over the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose by 0.12% to 97.97.

The Commerce Department said new home sales fell fell 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000 units in December, confounding expectations for a 1.5% rise to 730,000 units.

The surprise drop in new home sales did little to steady the greenback against the yen and Swiss franc following a sharp uptick in safe-haven demand on reports of more Chinese deaths from the coronavirus.

USD/JPY fell 0.28% to $109.00 and USD/CHF fell 0.13% to 0.968.

The weakness in the greenback comes just a day ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting, which is expected to culminate in an unchanged interest rate decision.

EUR/USD slipped 0.02% to $1.1102 as German business confidence unexpectedly slipped in January, denting hopes that the weakness in the manufacturing sector had steadied.

With just a few days go until the Bank of England decision and Brexit, the pound remained under pressure against the greenback falling 0.21% to $1.308.

USD/CAD rose 0.28% to C$1.3180 as the loonie tracked oil prices lower amid ongoing fears that a continued spread of the virus could dent travel and tourism, keeping a lid on oil demand.

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FOREX-Yuan wobbles, yen holds firm as traders count damage from China virus

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The yuan was mired near its weakest level in a month in offshore trade on Tuesday as heightened anxiety about the economic impact of a deadly new coronavirus in China battered riskier assets.

The Japanese yen, considered a safe-haven, traded near a three-week high versus the dollar as investors nervously watched the death toll from the virus climb to more than 100. stocks and oil prices have tumbled over recent sessions on fears the virus could do further damage to China's already weakened economy, an engine of global growth. authorities have stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the virus, imposing stiff restrictions on travel and movement of people. Many of the largest Chinese cities in central Hubei province, where the flu-like virus originated late last year, are already on lockdown.

Scores of Chinese are cancelling travel plans during the Lunar New Year, normally the busiest tourism season, while businesses in many cities have shut down. still do not know the full scale of this outbreak, which is not only a public health problem but also an economic problem," said Minori Uchida, head of global market research at MUFG Bank in Tokyo.

"There are worries about the impact on tourism and China's broader economy, which affect global economic growth forecasts. The yuan is likely to be sold, and the yen is likely to rise."

In the offshore market, the yuan CNH=D3 was quoted at 6.9813 per dollar, near its weakest since Dec. 30. China's onshore markets are closed this week for Lunar New Year.

The yen JPY=EBS held steady at 109.01 per dollar, close to its strongest level since Jan. 8.

Japan's currency has risen for the past five trading sessions against the greenback due to the growing risk aversion.

The dollar index .DXY against a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 97.932 following a 0.86% increase on Monday.

The coronavirus has spread to more than 10 countries. So far no fatalities have been reported outside of China.

The outbreak has evoked memories of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003, another coronavirus which broke out in China and killed nearly 800 people in a global pandemic. Australian dollar AUD=D3 traded at $0.6754, close to a three-month low. The New Zealand dollar NZD=D3 was quoted at $0.6541 after falling on Monday to its lowest since mid-December.

Both countries have extensive trade ties with China, with tourism and education especially vulnerable to disruption from the virus.

The U.S. dollar was quoted at $1.1021 per euro EUR=EBS , close to its strongest since December.

Officials from the U.S. central bank are scheduled to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday. They are expected to reiterate the Federal Reserve's desire to keep rates unchanged at least through this year.

The Bank of England also announces a policy decision on Thursday that many analysts say is too close to call.

The pound GBP=D3 was little changed at $1.3064 on the dollar and at 84.37 pence per euro EURGBP=D3 .

Dovish comments from BoE policymakers have fuelled some expectations for monetary easing, but improving economic data has cast doubt on this view.

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EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies weaken as virus death toll rises

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 Most Asian currencies slid against the dollar on Tuesday, with the South Korean won leading the declines, as the rising death toll from the fast-spreading coronavirus battered appetite for risk.

The won KRW=KFTC slipped as much as 0.8% to its lowest level in nearly three weeks as investors returned from a Lunar New Year break.

Asian financial markets extended a global selloff on fears that the new coronavirus, which has claimed 106 lives so far in China and has spread to more than 10 countries, could hit growth in the world's second-largest economy. Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan are among the nations that have confirmed cases of the virus.

"Across the Asia-Pacific, the downward pressure on local currencies will continue until we see some good news emerging in the Wuhan virus fight," Jeffery Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.

He, however, said Asian currencies were "well placed to weather the storm for some time to come" as they had rallied before the viral outbreak.

Trading in the onshore yuan CNY=CFXS was closed for the Lunar New Year holidays, which have been extended by three days to Feb. 2 as China takes further steps to curb the spread of the virus. the offshore market, the yuan CNH=D3 was at 6.9722 versus the dollar, recovering slightly from Monday when it hit 6.9900, the lowest since Dec. 30.

Malaysia's rinngit MYR= slipped up to 0.5%, while the Indonesian rupiah IDR= declined 0.4%. The Thai baht THB=TH skidded 0.3% to its weakest since August 2019.

The Philippine peso PHP= and the Indian rupee INR=IN each firmed 0.2%. There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in the Philippines and India. a slump in oil prices also supported the rupee. India is among the world's top importers of oil and easing crude prices bode well for the country's trade deficit. O/R

Taiwan's financial markets were closed for holidays.

The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0529 GMT.

CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR

Currency

Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen

108.970

108.89

-0.07 Sing dlr

1.357

1.3574

+0.01 Korean won

1176.900

1168.7

-0.70 Baht

30.770

30.69

-0.26 Peso

50.810

50.89

+0.16 Rupiah

13650.000 13600

-0.37 Rupee

71.330

71.44

+0.15 Ringgit

4.082

4.0645

-0.43

Change so far in 2020

Currency

Latest bid End 2019

Pct Move Japan yen

108.970

108.61

-0.33 Sing dlr

1.357

1.3444

-0.95 Taiwan dlr

30.006

30.106

+0.33 Korean won

1176.900

1156.40

-1.74 Baht

30.770

29.91

-2.79 Peso

50.810

50.65

-0.31 Rupiah

13650.000 13880

+1.68 Rupee

71.330

71.38

+0.07 Ringgit

4.082

4.0890

+0.17 Yuan

6.937

6.9632

+0.38

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