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Forex Today: Risk reset amid China optimism, SGD slumps on easing talks, RBA Lowe caps Aussie’s recovery

Despite China coronavirus death toll reaching 500, the Asian equities saw a solid risk-on rally this Wednesday amid expectations that China’s stimulus measures would likely lessen the negative economic impact of the outbreak on both the Chinese and the global economy.  

Therefore, risk reset for the key theme in the Asian session, although markets remained wary over the rapidly spreading virus internationally. Around 4000 passengers were quarantined on a coronavirus-hit cruise ship anchored off Japan.

On currency markets, the Singapore dollar (SGD) plunged nearly 1% against its US counterpart after the country’s central bank that the currency had room to ease within its current settings amid weakening economic conditions due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in China. USD/SGD clocked a new four-month high near 1.3825.

Meanwhile, most Asian currencies witnessed good two-way action, with USD/JPY having bounced-off a dip to 109.37 before consolidating near 109.50, as the rebound was capped by losses in the S&P 500 futures and US Treasury yields. The Aussie failed to sustain the initial spike to 0.6746 but held steady above 0.6700, as markets assessed the latest comments from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Lowe and disappointing Chinese Caixin Services PMI. The Kiwi also remained pressure despite upbeat New Zealand’s jobs data and firmer oil prices. Gold prices jumped towards $1565, benefiting from looming virus worries.

Amongst the European currencies, the EUR/USD pair traded on the back foot and eyed the 1.1000 level amid a broadly firmer US dollar while the cable stalled its recovery momentum below 1.3050.

Main Topics in Asia

A mixed New Zealand jobs report sends NZD to 0.65 the figure

Initial Iowa Caucus results show Biden in fourth place with 62% of precincts reporting – CNN

Coronavirus update: Hubei reports 65 new deaths, Ecuador announces its first case

RBA Lowe says economy still passing through “gentle turning point” for the better

RBA’s Lowe: Doing what we can on unemployment, up to government on fiscal policy

BOJ’s Wakatabe: Downside risks exist over BOJ's economic, price forecasts

China services PMI from Caixin/Markit: 51.8 (vs 52.5 Dec)

Singapore’s MAS: Sufficient room to easing of SGD due to virus, USD/SGD hits a four-month high

Govt Source: India's Jan gold imports plunge 48% to four-month low on record prices – Reuters

US Pres. Trump: The State of our Union is stronger than ever before!

Sources: Trump administration to meet on Huawei export curbs after Pentagon pushback – Reuters

USD/IDR: Rupiah remains pressured as Indonesia’s Q4 GDP disappoints with 4.97%

Key Focus Ahead       

We have a busy EUR macro calendar this Wednesday, dominated by the Services PMI reports from across the Euro area and the UK that will start dropping in from 0815 GMT. Ahead of these readings, the Swiss government Consumer Climate report and the European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President De Guindos speech will be eyed at 0645 GMT and 0810 GMT respectively.

Later in the session, the Eurozone Retail Sales will be reported at 1000 GMT, followed by ECB’s Chief Economist Lane’s speech due at 1130 GMT. Ahead of the US open, the ECB President Lagarde’s speech will hog the limelight. Lagarde is due to speak at 1215 GMT in Paris.

Meanwhile, from the NA docket, the US ISM Non-Manufacturing Index and its sub-indices will be closely watched at 1500 GMT. Markets will also take cues from the US and Canadian Trade Balance report as well as from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) weekly US Crude Stocks Change data.

Besides the data, the China coronavirus risks and Hard Brexit fears will continue to play out in the day ahead.

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