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Bob Mason
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Earlier in the Day:

It was a relatively busy day on the Asian economic calendar this morning. The Kiwi Dollar and Aussie Dollar were in action.

For the Kiwi Dollar

New Zealand’s trade deficit narrowed from NZ$4,460m to NZ$3,870 year-on-year in January. Month-on-month, the trade balance fell from an NZ$384m surplus to an NZ$340m deficit.

According to NZ Stats,

  • Total exports rose by NZ$382m (8.8%) from January 2019 to hit NZ$4.7bn.
    • Exports to China jumped by NZ$302m (31%) to NZ$1.3bn in January, compared with January 2019.
    • A jump in dairy, meat, and log exports led the way.
    • The rise in exports to China meant that China accounted for 27% of total exports, all of which came before the extended CNY holidays and quarantines across the country.
  • Total imports fell by NZ$212m (4.0%) to NZ$5.1bn in January 2020.
    • A slide in the import of vehicles, parts, and accessories (NZ$116m) weighed on imports. Motor car imports were the main driver.
    • Imports from China stood at NZ$1.1bn in January 2020, which accounted for 22% of total monthly imports. On an annual basis, 20% of total imports were from China.

The New Zealand Dollar moved from $0.62898 to $0.62900 upon release of the figures that preceded January business confidence figures.

In January, the ANZ Business Confidence Index fell from -13.2 to -19.4. Economists had forecast a rise to -7.9.

According to the latest ANZ Report,

  • A net 12% of firms expect stronger activity ahead for their own business, falling by 5.
  • Agriculture sector own activity tumbled from +16 to -30, with manufacturing own activity down from +24 to +4.
  • Expected profitability, investment and employment intentions were all in decline.
  • The downward trend was attributed to the spread of the coronavirus. ANZ noted that survey responses received after the COVID-19 outbreak hit the headlines were more negative. These accounted for one-third of the total respondents.
  • On the bright side, the construction sector saw a rosier outlook, with retail sector pricing intentions jumping to the highest level since 2008.

The Kiwi Dollar moved from $0.62866 to $0.62900 upon release of the numbers. At the time of writing, the Kiwi Dollar down by 0.05% to $0.6290.

For the Aussie Dollar

Private new capital expenditure slid by 2.8% in the 4th quarter, following on from a revised 0.4% decline in the 3rd quarter. Economists had forecast a 0.4% rise.

According to the ABS,

  • Building and structures saw a 5.9% slide, while new CAPEX expenditure on equipment, plant, and machinery rose by 0.8%.
  • In the 3rd quarter, investments in building and structures had risen by 2.5%, while expenditure on equipment, plant, and machinery had fallen by 3.6%.

The Aussie Dollar moved from $0.65511 to $0.65535 upon release of the figures. At the time of writing, the Aussie Dollar was up by 0.18% to $0.6556.

While the Aussie Dollar was up in the early hours, the slump in new CAPEX expenditure gives the RBA further reason to cut rates. The low-interest-rate environment was not only meant to support consumers but also fuel business spending.


At the time of writing, the Japanese Yen was up by 0.16% to ¥110.25 against the U.S Dollar.


The Day Ahead:

For the EUR

It’s a relatively busy day ahead on the economic calendar. Key stats include prelim February inflation figures out of Spain and finalized Eurozone consumer confidence figures.

Barring a material pullback in inflation, however, we would expect the numbers to have a muted impact on the EUR.

Expect any revision to Eurozone consumer confidence figures to influence, however, as the markets search for sentiment towards the spread of the coronavirus.

Outside of the numbers, expect market risk sentiment to continue to provide direction. For the EUR, early support kicked in as the markets reacted to news of a rise in new coronavirus cases in the U.S. The upward swing has come as the markets reverse bets on the U.S economy being unscathed from the spread of the virus.

At the time of writing, the EUR was up by 0.26% at $1.0909.

For the Pound

It’s also a quiet day ahead on the economic calendar, with no material stats to provide the Pound with direction.

While there are no stats to consider, the British Government is due to release its terms for trade negotiations with the EU.

It will all come down to how far apart the 2-sides are from the get-go and how the EU responds and Boris Johnson and David Foster react in return.

Expectations are for a difficult road ahead, which should peg the Pound back at $1.29 levels and bring $1.28 levels back into play.

On the monetary policy front, BoE MPC member Cunliffe is scheduled to speak in the early afternoon. Following Cunliffe’s concerns over the negative effects of prolonged monetary policy easing, expect any dovish chatter to weigh on the Pound.

We’ve yet to hear of central banks wanting to step in as the coronavirus continues to spread. This may well change in the coming weeks…

At the time of writing, the Pound was up by 0.12% to $1.2921.

Across the Pond

It’s a relatively busy day ahead on the U.S economic calendar. January durable goods orders and 2nd estimate GDP numbers for the 4th quarter are due out.

Barring deviation from 1st estimate numbers, expect the core durable goods and durable goods orders to have the greatest impact.

Following last week’s particularly disappointing PMI numbers, any slide in orders will pressure the Greenback further.

Initial weekly jobless claims and pending home sales figures for January are also due out. We will also expect the numbers to have a muted impact on the Dollar, however.

Outside of the numbers, market risk sentiment will continue to influence.

At the time of writing, the Dollar Spot Index was down by 0.06% to 98.939.

For the Loonie

It’s a quiet day ahead on the economic calendar, with key stats limited to 4th quarter current account figures out of Canada.

We can expect the numbers to have a muted impact on the Loonie, however.

Focus through the day will be on the economic outlook and demand for crude oil, which remains Loonie negative.

The Loonie was down by 0.06% at C$1.3341 against the U.S Dollar, at the time of writing.

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