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US dollar firms as investors flock to safe-haven assets on coronavirus fears

currency-newsUS dollar firms as investors flock to safe-haven assets on coronavirus fears
The US dollar was back on the offensive at the end of last week’s session as growing panic over the coronavirus buoyed demand for the safe-haven currency.

The pound, meanwhile, is struggling at the start of this week’s session, with GBP/EUR tumbling to €1.1536 and GBP/USD subdued at $1.2787. GBP/NZD has slipped to NZ$2.0438, while GBP/AUD and GBP/CAD are plummeting, striking AU$1.9509 and C$1.7059 respectively.

UK-EU Brexit trade talks are due to get underway this week and with the two sides set to clash it will undoubtedly throw up fresh volatility in GBP exchange rates.

What’s been happening?          

The US dollar rallied on Friday, being carried higher amid a stock market rout that saw investors flock to the safe-haven currency.

However, the upside in the ‘greenback’ was limited somewhat as USD investors priced in a March rate cut from the Federal Reserve on the expectation the Fed will attempt to cushion the impact of the coronavirus on the US economy.

The euro also remained well supported at the end of last week, rising on the back of some robust German inflation figures as well as growing expectations for fiscal stimulus measures from Germany and other Eurozone governments.

Meanwhile, the pound closed last week’s session on the back foot as it remained pressured by concerns the UK could face a no-deal Brexit this year.

What’s coming up?

Looking to the week ahead, it looks likely that the coronavirus crisis will continue to play a major role in dictating sentiment in currency markets.

However, Brexit will be sharing the spotlight with the coronavirus as trade talks between the UK and EU finally get under way this week.

Expect this to drive fresh volatility in the pound as it looks set to highlight the major divide between the UK and EU’s position over their future trade relationship.

In the US, the publication of the latest ISM manufacturing PMI could limit any upside in the US dollar at the start of the week, on the expectation that the US factory sector will have seen hardly any growth last month.

Finally, EUR investors will be focused on the Eurozone’s own factory PMI this morning, with the euro potentially finding support if it confirms manufacturing activity rose to a one-year high in February.
Philip McHugh

Philip McHugh

Joining the corporate trading desk in 2007, Phil now over sees all of Currencies Direct’s corporate dealing activity. Having gained experience working with hundreds of businesses to optimise international payments processes and execute comprehensive risk management strategies, Phil currently works with a portfolio of corporate clients whilst managing Currencies Direct’s overall market exposure

Phil has FCA approval and has completed the Certificate in International Treasury Management (CertiTM)

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