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Following an upbeat start to the Asian session this Thursday, the sentiment turned sour, as the coronavirus spread quickened on both sides of the Atlantic. Also, a sense of caution crept in in the lead up to the critical US Jobless Claims, OPEC+ meeting and Fed Chair Powell’s speech.

Meanwhile, the World Bank downgraded growth outlooks for developing countries in Europe, Central Asia. The Asian stocks traded mixed alongside US equity futures amid risk-aversion while Gold treaded water around 1650 levels. Oil prices rallied on hopes of OPEC+ output cuts, with WTI flirting with $26 mark.

Most majors are stuck in thin trading ranges, as the US dollar trades broadly subdued. USD/JPY traded listless between 108.80-109.10 levels. AUD/USD, however, enjoyed some good two-way price movements on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) Financial Stability Review report. The aussie still managed to hold fort above the 0.6200 level. USD/CAD remained offered above 1.4000 despite the oil-price strength.

Among the European currencies, EUR/USD ranged above 1.0850, having failed several attempts towards 1.0900 while the cable traded modestly flat below 1.24, as traders await the UK Foreign Secretary Raab’s cobra emergency meeting.

Main topics in Asia

France to extend lockdown beyond April 15, PM Macron will address the nation on Monday

Coronavirus update: US coronavirus deaths cross 14,300, second highest in world behind Italy

Fed’s Kaplan: US GDP may shrink 25% to 35% in second quarter, then grow in second half

Trump: We are much closer to getting our country back to where it was

China’s Hubei province reports zero new cases on April 8 vs zero on April 7

BoJ’s Kuroda: Economic uncertainty is very high

NZ PM Ardern: The country will not be exiting the shut in early

RBA’s Financial Stability Review: Financial system was in a strong position heading into virus impacts, faces increased risks

BOK keeps rates on hold at 0.75%, monitors impact of the March 16 emergency rate cut

UK government ministers to extend coronavirus lockdown beyond 3 weeks – Reuters

NZ Treasury: Economic activity has fallen abruptly as Govt responds to the coronavirus-led health risks

BOK’s Lee: S. Korean economic growth depends on spread of coronavirus

Aichi Prefecture asks govt to place it under state of emergency over coronavirus – Japan Times

Coronavirus update: Australia records lowest infection rate in three weeks

Key focus ahead        

Markets gear up for an eventful Thursday’s macro calendar that will wrap the Good Friday-shortened week, with the next data of relevance likely to be the UK monthly growth figures, Industrial Production and Trade Balance report, all dropping in at 0600 GMT. The German Trade Balance and Current Account data will soon be reported at 0700 GMT. Later in the European session, the UK NIESR GDP Estimate is also slated for release.

In the NA session, the critical US Jobless Claims data will be released at 1230 GMT alongside the releases of the US Producer Price Index (PPI) and Canadian Employment data. Later on, at 1400 GMT, the focus will be on the speech by the US Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Jerome Powell and the US Michigan Preliminary Consumer Sentiment data.

Apart from the economic releases, the OPEC and non-OPEC producers (OPEC+) meeting to discuss the output cuts is likely to steal the show and poses big risks for the oil and CAD traders. Meanwhile, the virus updates and dollar dynamics will continue to play a pivotal role.

EUR/USD turns indecisive ahead of EU ministers’ meeting

EUR/USD is lacking a clear directional bias as the European Union finance ministers struggle to agree on a coronavirus economic rescue package. ECB calls for 1.5 trillion euros in fiscal measures.

GBP/USD clings to modest gains ahead of UK’s data dump

GBP/USD registers a three-day winning streak on early-Thursday. The UK may extend the coronavirus-led lockdown, PM Johnson remains stable in the ICU. A busy economic calendar can offer additional catalysts.

US Initial Jobless Claims Preview: Is there an unemployment encore?

Initial unemployment claims expected to be 5.250 million. Three-week total would be more than 15 million, 10% of workforce. US dollar could benefit from reinforced risk aversion.

What to expect from OPEC and G20

The main focus will be on the OPEC meeting. Investors will be eager to see if the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia will end with an agreement by all parties to cut world production by 10 million barrels.