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James Hyerczyk

Australian and New Zealand Dollars are trading lower on Friday on fears about the spread of the coronavirus despite a soothing message from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO said on Thursday that while some members are concerned that human-to-human transfer of the coronavirus is occurring, others felt it was too soon to declare what is known as a “public health emergency of international concern.”

It would reconvene in about 10 days’ time, or earlier if necessary, the WHO said.

At 11:15 GMT, the AUD/USD is trading .6847, down 0.0002 or -0.02% and the NZD/USD is at .6616, down 0.0003 or -0.06%. This is down from an intraday high of .6629.

Coronavirus Update

China’s National Health Commission said as many as 26 people have died from a fast-spreading coronavirus, as the total number of confirmed cases in the country rose to 830.

China’s Finance Ministry said it has allocated 1 billion Yuan ($145 million) to support Hubei province in its fight to contain the outbreak.

The WHO on Thursday said at a press conference the outbreak did not yet constitute a global public health emergency.

“Make no mistake, this is, though, an emergency in China. But, it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO. He added the organization’s assessment is that “the outbreak is very high-risk in China, and high-risk regionally and globally.”


CPI Data Boosts New Zealand Dollar Early, Gains Capped by Virus Fears

The NZD/USD rose early Friday on stronger-than-expected inflation data but fears about the spread of the coronavirus kept a lid on the currency’s gains.

The data showed the Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent in the December quarter, taking the annual inflation rate to 1.9 percent, just a notch below the mid-point of the Reserve Bank’s target range.

“The market reacted the way it did because of the difference between the Reserve Bank’s forecast of 0.2 percent and the actual outcome,” said Peter Cavanaugh, the senior client advisor at Bancorp Treasury Services.

Economists had been expecting a quarterly increase of 0.4 percent for an annual rise of 1.8 percent.

Daily Forecast

Today’s price action suggests Aussie and Kiwi investors may be afraid to take a chance holding on to long positions over the week-end due to the fear and uncertainty over the Chinese virus.

Multiple cases of the virus have been confirmed in Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan, while the United States, Taiwan and Singapore have each reported one case.

The Aussie and Kiwi could plunge if cases are reported in Australia and New Zealand over the weekend.

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