Despite upbeat US-China trade headlines and a slowdown in coronavirus infection in China, the risk appetite was battered in Asia this Tuesday, in light of the warning issued by Apple Inc. that highlighted rising economic costs due to the coronavirus impact. Apple Inc. said on Monday that it will not meet its revenue guidance for the March quarter due to coronavirus’s negative impact.
The broad risk-aversion hit the Asian equities, US stock futures and Treasury yields across the curve while boosting the demand for havens such as the yen, US dollar and gold. The Chinese proxies, the AUD and the NZD, suffered the most across the fx board. The Aussie fell 0.40% to 0.6685 levels, having faced a double whammy from the dovish Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Feb meeting’s minutes and no demand for higher-yielding assets. The Kiwi also followed suit and tested the 0.64 handle.
The anti-risk yen recovered ground and hit a fresh four-day high vs. the US dollar at 109.66 while gold prices reached the highest levels in two weeks near $1590. Meanwhile, both crude benchmarks dropped nearly 1% on persisting oil demand concerns from China.
Among the European currencies, EUR/USD refreshed 34-month low at 1.0823 in early Asia and consolidated the downside ahead of the key German data while the cable slipped back below 1.30 amid Hard Brexit fears and nervousness heading into the UK wages data.
Main Topics in Asia
Chinese health authorities confirm 1,886 new cases of coronavirus, and 98 new deaths as of Feb 17
Japan Finance Minister Aso: Closely monitoring effects of the virus and assure fiscal measures as needed
Coronavirus among medics more widespread than reported, research Shows – Caixin
RBA Minutes: Board prepared to ease policy if needed – Retuers
Coronavirus peak expected late February: medical advisor – Global Times
Coronavirus: Japan infection rate has picked up since Feb. 12
China considers cautious monetary policy response to virus outbreak
EU’s Centeno: Eurozone ministers discussed fiscal boost options as virus worries weigh
China’s State Assets Regulator: Impact of coronavirus outbreak on industries will mainly show in Feb
EU business group chief: Synchronisation of supplies hampered in China due to coronavirus
Key Focus Ahead
On the data front, the immediate attention now turns towards the UK jobs and wage growth data lined for release at 0930 GMT. The Kingdom’s Average Earnings are likely to see a downtick (3Mo/Yr) in December, which could likely add to the renewed weakness seen in the pound. Meanwhile, the Brexit headlines will also continue to influence the cable.
At 1000 GMT, the ZEW Survey from Germany and Eurozone will be reported, with the former one closely eyed by the EUR traders.
In the NA session, amid a lack of the first-liner macro news from the US, the Canadian Manufacturing Sales and New Zealand’s GDT Price Index data will grab some attention while the coronavirus-related developments will also remain in focus.
EUR/USD looks to test 1.0800 ahead of German ZEW
Despite the latest recovery attempt from a new 34-month of 1.0823 reached in early Asia, the sentiment around the EUR/USD pair remains undermined by the German economic growth concerns and broad US dollar strength. Focus on German ZEW, coronavirus updates.
GBP/USD extends losses to sub-1.3000 area, UK unemployment rate in focus
GBP/USD stays mildly negative around 1.30 while heading into the London open on Tuesday. UK’s Brexit negotiator shares the same view as PM Boris Johnson, increases the risks of hard departure. UK employment statistics will be the key to clarify on the BOE’s bearish bias.
UK employment preview: Three reasons why GBP/USD could bounce even if wage growth slows
Investors may dismiss weak figures in December and attribute them to political chaos. Low expectations make room for an upside surprise after last month’s positive one. The trend is favorable for sterling amid Brexit and fiscal stimulus speculation.