Coronavirus Jitters Surface as the Focus Shifts to Employment Numbers and the GBP

More stats due out of the UK could test the Pound further this afternoon. Earlier in the day, the BoJ held rates steady.
Bob Mason

Earlier in the Day:

It was a relatively quiet day on the Asian economic calendar this morning. There were no material stats to provide direction through the session.

The lack of stats left the majors to take their cues from Monday’s European session and the futures markets.

On the monetary policy front, the BoJ delivered its first monetary policy decision of the year.

While the BoJ was in focus, it was risk-off earlier in the day. News of the Coronavirus killing a 4th and landing on the doorstep of HK sounded the alarm bells.

For the Japanese Yen

The Bank of Japan held rates unchanged this morning, in spite of some particularly disappointing household spending and private sector PMI numbers of late.

Last week, the BoJ Governor had talked of the Bank’s willingness to provide further support should the need arise.

Looking at the quarterly outlook report, released alongside the policy decision

  • Japan’s economy is likely to continue on an expanding trend through to 2021.
  • The Bank expects that the impact of a slowdown in overseas economies on domestic demand will be limited.
  • Expectations are for exports to moderately increase.
  • Domestic demand is expected to follow an upward trend, though this has declined recently due to the effects of the consumption tax hike and natural disasters.
  • The annual rate of core inflation is likely to gradually increase towards 2%.
  • The Bank has revised upwards projected growth rates, mainly for the fiscal year 2020, reflecting the effect of the government’s economic measures.
  • Risks to economic activity are skewed to the downside, particularly regarding developments in overseas economies.
  • The risk to prices is also skewed to the downside.

The Japanese Yen moved from ¥109.974 to ¥109.952 upon the decision and release of the outlook report. At the time of writing, the Japanese Yen was up by 0.18% to ¥109.98 against the greenback


At the time of writing, the Aussie Dollar was down by 0.12% to $0.6865, with the Kiwi Dollar down by 0.03% to $0.6606.

The Day Ahead:

For the EUR

It’s a relatively busy day ahead on the economic calendar, with ZEW economic sentiment figures for Germany and the Eurozone due out.

With the ECB expecting sentiment and the economy to have bottomed out, the sentiment figures will need to mirror the ECB’s view to support the EUR.

Forecasts are mixed, however, with the sentiment in Germany expected to improve and sentiment in the Eurozone to deteriorate.

At the time of writing, the EUR was up by 0.02% to $1.1097.

For the Pound

It’s a busy day ahead on the economic calendar, with employment and wage growth figures due this afternoon.

While the unemployment rate will garner attention, the focus will be on the claimant count and average earnings numbers.

Another set of disappointing figures will likely pave the way for the BoE to cut rates on Thursday.

On the Brexit front, the countdown continues, with 10-days remaining until Britain leaves the EU.

At the time of writing, the Pound was down by 0.02% to $1.3008.

Across the Pond

It’s another quiet day on the data front, with no material stats due out of the U.S to provide direction.

Following Monday’s close, we expect the markets to look ahead to key stats later in the week. Sentiment towards the U.S economy has vastly improved since the 3rd quarter, so downside for the Dollar should be limited.

The Dollar Spot Index was down by 0.04% to 97.566 at the time of writing.

For the Loonie

It’s also a relatively quiet day on the economic calendar, with Nov manufacturing sales figures due out later today.

With the BoC in action tomorrow, we can expect some Loonie sensitivity to the numbers. Expect oil prices to also influence.

The Loonie was down by 0.06% at C$1.3056 against the U.S Dollar, at the time of writing.

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