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The market mood remained fragile in Friday’s Asian trading, as a sense of caution prevailed amid concerns over the rapid spread of the China coronavirus outbreak globally, despite the Chinese authorities extending their containment efforts. Media reports hit the wires, citing fresh coronavirus cases reported in China, South Korea, Australia and the US. The World Health Organization (WHO), however, refrained from declaring it as a global emergency on Thursday.

The Asian equities traded mixed amid the virus concerns and slowing volumes, as the financial markets in China, Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. The S&P 500 futures posted small gains while the US Treasury yields returned to the green zone, which somewhat buoyed the sentiment around the US dollar.

Meanwhile, most fx majors traded in tight trading ranges, with the USD/JPY pair stuck in range around the 109.50 level, divided between upbeat Japanese CPI, cautious sentiment and positive Wall Street futures. The Aussie’s rebound was capped near 0.6850 while the Kiwi hit a new four-day high near 0.6625, in the wake of above-forecasts New Zealand’s inflation data. USD/CAD traded listless around 1.3125, with the upside capped by the rebound in oil prices. Meanwhile, gold prices remained under pressure below $1560 levels.

Among the European currencies, EUR/USD remained on the defensive around 1.1050 after downbeat remarks from the European Central Bank (ECB) Chief Lagarde during the post-monetary policy meeting press conference. The cable held steady above the 1.31 level heading into the key events risks in the European session.

Main Topics in Asia

US Pres. Trump: White House Middle East peace plan is a great plan

Japanese CPI Dec: 0.8% YoY vs 0.4% expected

BoJ Minutes: Most members agreed it is appropriate to continue easing consistently

UK to strike first post-Brexit trade deal with Japan, dubbed as EU++ – The Sun

Total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China at 830 as of Jan 23 – State media

105 new cases of Wuhan coronavirus confirmed in Hubei – Global Times

RBNZ Q4 Sectoral Factor Model Inflation Index rises by 1.8% YoY, Kiwi hits four-day highs

Incoming BOE Governor Bailey: UK badly prepared for market crash

Coronavirus spreads globally, China continues containment efforts

US Official: US Pres. Trump to sign USMCA trade deal Wednesday at White House

Turkish FinMin Albayrak: Lira “looks competitive” at 5.7-5.9 against US dollar – Nikkei

S&P warns coronavirus threatens to dent China’s new growth driver – Bloomberg

Key Focus Ahead       

Fresh trading momentum could gather pace in the session ahead after a quiet Asian affair, as markets brace for the key preliminary Markit Manufacturing PMI readings from the across the Euro area as well from the UK. The bloc’s PMIs will start trickling from 0815 GMT and could emerge a key driver for the euro in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the UK activity numbers (due at 0930 GMT) will be closely watched heading into next week’s Bank of England’s (BOE) policy decision. Also, of note remains the speech by the ECB President Lagarde scheduled at 1030 GMT. Lagarde is due to participate in a panel discussion titled “Global Economic Outlook” at the 2020 World Economic Forum, in Davos.

The NA session is also an eventful one, with the Canadian Retail Sales data to kick-off the calendar at 1330 GMT. In the American mid-morning, Markit’s Preliminary Manufacturing and Services PMI reports for the US are lined up for release at 1445 GMT. Markets will also look forward to the Baker Hughes US Oil Rig Count data, dropping in at 1800 GMT.

Besides, China coronavirus spread-related developments are likely to remain the main market driver in the day ahead.

EUR/USD: Fiber has lost its upward trajectory, eyes PMIs and Lagarde speech

EUR/USD is on the defensive, having dived out of key ascending trendline. ECB President Lagarde on Thursday said risks to the outlook remain on the downside. German and Eurozone PMIs will likely guide the price action on Friday. 

GBP/USD: Mildly bid above 1.3100 ahead of the key PMIs

GBP/USD gradually recovers Thursday’s losses as it takes the bids around 1.3125 ahead of the London open. The pair might have benefited from the EU-UK trade positive headlines but market players are waiting for the UK January preliminary PMIs for fresh impulse.

Eurozone PMIs preview: Upbeat expectations seem justified, opening the door for EUR/USD gains

Markit’s preliminary PMIs for January are set to show a modest improvement. EUR/USD is expected to react strongly to any outcome.

Key economic events in the week ahead – ANZ

The FX Strategists at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) provide brief insights into the key event risks due on the cards next week.