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  • NZD/USD struggles to extend Friday’s upbeat performance, eases off-late.
  • Fresh fears of US-China trade war, virus woes in Europe battle US stimulus and vaccine hopes.
  • Lack of major data/events can keep risk catalysts on the driver’s seat.

NZD/USD fails to offer an upbeat start to the week while easing to 0.6995 amid the initial Asian session on Monday. In doing so, the kiwi pair fails to keep Friday’s gains as fresh challenges to the sentiment play their roles amid a light calendar.

Bulls have a bumpy road”¦

Even after a strong end of the week recovery, NZD/USD can’t win over the bears as weekend headlines concerning the Sino-American trade relations and Europe’s coronavirus (COVID-19) woes seem to weigh on the previous risk-on mood.

Among them, the key is the first comments from US Trade Representative Ms. Katherine Tai who said, per Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “The U.S. isn’t ready to lift tariffs on Chinese imports in the near future, but might be open to trade negotiations with Beijing.” This follows last week’s news where China indirectly warned America over its ties with Taiwan and Hong Kong while chatters of Beijing not up to the trade terms agreed in the phase one deal renew fears of the US-China tussles.

Additionally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s push for the strict covid restrictions and use of Federal laws if needed precede French doctors’ warning over the surge in the COVID-19 patients in the intensive care units to a new high of the year, per Reuters. Europe has been struggling with the virus resurgence while the vaccine delivery negatively affects the jabbing and delays the economic recovery of the bloc.

Also on the risk-negative side could be geopolitical fears from North Korea and Iran as well as the stuck Ever Given in the Suez Canal.

Alternatively, US President Joe Biden’s push for complete vaccinations by May and talks of a $3.0 trillion infrastructure spending plan favor the sentiment. Also on the positive side were receding fears of reflation after Friday’s US data.

Amid these plays, S&P 500 Futures begin the week on the negative side, currently down 0.15%, even as Wall Street offered a strong close on Friday.

It’s worth mentioning that New Zealand’s employment figures for February, as per Statistics New Zealand suggest no major changes as a 1.6% employment drop in primary industries was matched by 1.1% and 0.2% increase in goods-producing and services industries. Further, all industries added 246 jobs to mark no major shift in the employment sector.

Moving on, NZD/USD traders should rely on sentiment-related news amid a light calendar. Among them, China-centric headlines and virus/vaccine updates will be the key to watch.

Technical analysis

A clear break above the early December lows surrounding 0.7010 becomes necessary for the NZD/USD corrective pullback targeting March 05-09 bottoms close to the 0.7100 round-figure.