Increased Coronavirus Concerns Weigh on Equities and Risk-Linked Currencies

Xe Corporate APAC

February 2, 20202 min read

The AUDUSD opens at 0.6698 (mid-rate) and the NZDUSD opens at 0.6465 (mid-rate) this morning.

Increased concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, as the number of confirmed cases along with the death toll continue to rise, saw equities and risk-linked currencies sell off into Friday’s month end.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide is now 14,556 with the death toll at 305 including the first recorded death outside of mainland China, a 44-year old man in the Philippines. Many countries including the US, Australia and New Zealand have imposed temporary bans on all foreign nationals travelling from or transiting through China.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) announced it will pump 1.2tn yuan (NZD$21B) into its financial system, purchasing a range of securities in an effort to avert a wave of forced selling as markets reopen for the first time since the January 23rd Luna holiday shutdown.

The British pound was the best performing major currency last week and continued to outperform on Friday following the bank of England’s decision to keep rates on hold at their end on month monetary policy meeting.

On the local economic data front, tomorrow’s RBA monetary policy meeting is the key driver for the AUD this week with the market currently pricing a 19% chance of a 25 basis point cut. The key driver for the NZD will be Wednesday’s employment report along with Friday’s quarterly inflation expectations.

Global equity markets with the exception of the Nikkei sold-off on Friday - Dow -2.09%, S&P 500 -1.77%, FTSE -1.30%, DAX -1.33%, CAC -1.11%, Nikkei +0.99%, Shanghai -Closed

Gold prices were little changed on Friday closing out the month at $1,589 an ounce. WTI Crude Oil prices continued to slide on Friday, down 1.3%% closing out the month at $51.58 a barrel.

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