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A massive risk-aversion wave gripped Asia starting out a new week on Monday, as investors witnessed sharp moves across the financial markets amid heightening fears over global coronavirus contagion. Weekend reports cited a surge in the new coronavirus cases in South Korea, Iran and Italy that intensified worries that the infectious disease looks more like a pandemic.

However, the latest stats from China’s National Health Commission, reporting a decline in the new coronavirus cases in both mainland and Hubei province somewhat curbed the risk-off flows but failed to ease the nerves.

A flight to safety drove gold prices to the highest levels in seven years at $1681, as the US and European equity futures slumped 2% in tandem with the Asian stocks. Oil prices gapped down and traded with nearly 2.5% loss.

Within the G10 currency markets, the US dollar jumped back on the bids across its main peers amid increased haven demand, having faded the recovery momentum in both the EUR/USD pair and cable. EUR/USD headed back towards 1.0800 while GBP/USD extended losses below 1.2950.

Among the Asia-pac currencies, USD/JPY filled in the bearish opening gap but remained modestly flat around the midpoint of the 111 handle amid thin trading, with Japanese traders away on a national holiday. The Antipodeans incurred sizeable losses amid a sell-off in the Emerging Markets (EM) currencies, as the Aussie renewed an 11-year low at 0.6583 while the Kiwi consolidated the gap down to near a four-month low on 0.6300 reached last week.

Main Topics in Asia

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso: No comment on yen’s recent weakness

G20 Summary: Top economies coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak

The next fortnight will see UK PM Johnson kick start the trade talks with the EU and US – The Telegraph

S&P 500 futures slide as Gold gains on virus concerns

S. Korea reports 161 more confirmed coronavirus cases, 7th death on Monday

USD/KRW rises to six-month high as coronavirus spreads into South Korea

NZ PM Arden: China travel restrictions to remain in place for another eight days

China’s NHC reports 409 new cases in mainland from coronavirus outbreak as on Feb 23

PBOC’s Chen: Will pledge “dynamic adjustment” of RRR policies

Official: Bank Indonesia intervenes to curb capital outflows amid coronavirus spread

EU’s Gentiloni: There is no need to panic as coronavirus outbreak hits Italy

French FinMin Le Maire: No global digital tax by end-2020 would mean digital tax chaos

Key Focus Ahead       

With the coronavirus updates likely continue to dominate the broader market sentiment, the German IFO Business Survey for February will also grab some attention, as a lead indicator for the recession-battling economy. The indicators are likely to show some improvement this month and could refuel the corrective bounce in EUR/USD.

Next of relevance remains the Canadian Wholesale Sales data among a couple of regional economic news from the US. Markets will continue to watch out for any fresh updates on Brexit-related developments.

EUR/USD trades below 200-HMA as Coronavirus grips Italy

The selling interest around the single currency is looking to gather steam amid reports stating a rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the north of Italy. The bulls need a better-than-expected German IFO reading to scale back expectations for recession.

GBP/USD stays below 1.3000 as the EU, UK give final touches to Brexit deal

GBP/USD remains on the back foot near 1.2950 heading into the London open. The UK seeks to avoid Irish Sea checks on goods, employers urged UK PM Johnson. The EU leaders push for “level playing field” but stay divided. Coronavirus, UK-US trade deal also weigh on the pair.

Gold at 7-year high on virus fears

Gold spiked higher this morning with safe-haven demand intensifying as the global spread of CoVid-19 continues. It’s a relatively sparse data calendar to start the week, with the highlight being the German IFO surveys for February.

How Coronavirus could impact the Indian economy and financial markets

While the disease may not have impacted the country directly as much, the domestic economy which is just about showing some nascent signs of recovery may not escape unscathed.