Here is what you need to know on Monday, February 24:
Coronavirus: The respiratory disease continues spreading and is taking its toll. Chinese President Xi Jinping has sounded the alarm over the outbreak at the Communist Party’s gathering. His words contrast the upbeat mood of last week. Areas in northern Italy’s industrial heartland have been put under lockdown due to a significant cluster of cases. The Venice Carnaval has been canceled. In South Korea, the number of cases related to a religious sect in the south of the country is growing.
Risk-off: S&P futures, most Asian stocks, commodity currencies, and oil are down on Monday. AUD/USD temporarily hit a new decade low, below last week’s trough. While the Japanese yen is mostly unchanged, Gold prices have extended their gains, hitting a high of $1,680. Against the euro and the pound, the US dollar is recovering a significant chunk of its losses on Friday.
US data: While most of last week’s American figures beat expectations, Markit’s preliminary Services Purchasing Managers’ Index shocked by dropped below 50, allowing an opportunity to take profits on dollar gains.
EUR/USD is trading closer to 1.08 ahead of the German IFO Business Climate figures for February. A slide from January’s 95.9 is likely. Regional elections in Hamburg have dealt a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU Party.
Brexit: Experts warn that if the UK reneges on pledges related to Northern Ireland, it could risk trade agreements with the US and the EU.
Saudi Arabia denied it is contemplating breaking away from Russia amid disagreements regarding oil production in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Cryptocurrencies are sliding on Monday yet remain in familiar ranges, with Bitcoin trading around $9,700.