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By XE Market Analysis March 16, 2020 2:53 pm
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    XE Market Analysis: Asia - Mar 16, 2020

    The Dollar index firmed up in early N.Y. trade on Monday, with safe-haven flows driving the modest move higher. The DXY later steadied off its high of 98.44, finding support into 98.00. The U.S. Empire State manufacturing index dropped a record 34.4 points to 21.5 in March, much lower than expected but that's likely to be the case for most data points for some time. Nonetheless, there was little market reaction, as focus remained on the shock coronavirus related Fed moves on Sunday, and the accompanying melt-down of equities and Treasury yields. EUR-USD fell to lows of 1.1095 in morning trade, later recovering over 1.1170. USD-JPY ranged between 105.15 and 106.47, later steadying above 105.70. USD-CAD printed fresh four-year highs of 1.4018. Cable meanwhile, hit five-month lows of 1.2202.

    [EUR, USD]
    EUR-USD traded to 1.1095 lows from opening highs of 1.1200 in N.Y. trade, since heading back toward 1.1170. The pairing had rallied to 1.1237 during London morning trade, following the Fed's 100- basis point rate cut, though subsequent demand for safe-haven Dollars took the Euro to lows of the day, as risk-appetite vaporized. The Eurozone is facing serious issues with both Italy and Spain amid nationwide lock-downs in the face of sharp rises in coronavirus cases, which for now may keep a lid on EUR-USD, though for the U.S., uncertainty over how wide ranging the virus outbreak will be may eventually turn on the USD.

    [USD, JPY]
    USD-JPY plunged from 107.88 highs seen at the Asian open overnight, trading to 105.94 ahead of the London open. The pairing recovered briefly, though made its way lower into early N.Y. trade, touching 105.15 lows. Another severe risk-off session has supported the Yen, and until markets get a sense that the worst has passed on the coronavirus front, USD-JPY will remain in sell-any-rally mode.

    [GBP, USD]
    Cable fell to five-month lows of 1.2202 in N.Y. trade, despite the Fed's 100 basis point rate cut, down from London highs of 1.2374. Last week's 50 bp BoE rate cut and the government announcement of a massive GBP 30 bln fiscal spending plan didn't have much impact on the pound. Regarding the BoE, new governor Andrew Bailey picked up the reins today. His first Monetary Policy Committee meeting as governor will be on Wednesday and Thursday next week. A further 25 bps cut looks likely, which would take the repo rate to zero. An expansion in the QE program also looks likely.

    [USD, CHF]
    EUR-CHF bounced to 1.0590 from trend lows under 1.0530. The cross will continue to reflect safe haven demand for the Swiss currency as concerns rise about the global economic disruptions being caused by efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus. The Swiss franc can be expected to rise further in the coming days, as the virus continue to spread.

    [USD, CAD]
    USD-CAD rallied from Asian lows of 1.3732, topping at 1.3987 in early North American trade. The collapse in risk-taking levels, along with as much as a 9% fall in oil prices weighed heavily on the CAD, despite the Fed's 100 basis point slash in interest rated on Sunday. USD-CAD later printed new highs of 1.4018, with buy-stops reportedly tripped over the 1.4000 mark. Extreme risk-off conditions, along with tumbling oil prices have been the drivers of CAD weakness.

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