Forex Today: King dollar consolidates, coronavirus underpins unstoppable Gold, EUR data eyed
Here is what you need to know on Friday, February 21:
The coronavirus continues taking its human and economic toll. China has reported a plunge of 92% in car sales in the first half of February and it halted most freight trains heading to Europe while it urges companies to return to normal and promises support. Japan will cancel or postpone any outdoor events in the next three weeks. The US has issued a travel warning to the country. South Korea has confirmed infections among the military and its airlines will suspend more flights. The nation also designated two cities as "special care zones."
The market mood is mildly adverse as the weekend draws near, with the US dollar holding onto most of its gains. Gold prices continue soaring above $1,620, the highest in seven years. The Japanese yen has found its feet after the massive sell-off.
See US Dollar Strength: About more than the coronavirus' contagion
Japanese inflation has risen, but when stripping the effect of the sales tax hike, it remains barely above 0%. Preliminary Purchasing Managers' Indexes in Japan have dropped below 50, indicating ongoing contraction after the country reported a plunge in fourth-quarter growth.
Eurozone PMs and especially the German Manufacturing PMI stand out in the European morning. Economists expect a slide in almost all the forward-looking measures amid the coronavirus outbreak. The European Central Bank's meeting minutes published on Thursday reflected the cautious optimism previously conveyed by policymakers. Germany's finance ministry said that the outlook for trade remains weak. EUR/USD has filled the 2017 "Macron Gap by hitting 1.0777 and has since stabilized.
See Eurozone PMI Preview: Triggering the next EUR/USD fall? Low expectations may be too high
UK PMIs are set to decline in the initial read for February after enjoying a "Boris Bounce" in January – businesses responded positively to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's victory. Thursday's publication of better than expected retail sales for January failed to trigger a meaningful rally. GBP/USD succumbed to dollar strength and hit the lowest since November before stabilizing.
AUD/USD has fallen below 0.66, reaching the lowest since 2009. Coronavirus fears, dollar strength, a rise in Australia's jobless rate and finally the slide in its preliminary PMIs below 50 points – implying contraction – have been weighing on the Aussie.
Canadain retail sales figures for December are set to show modest increases. The loonie has stabilized above 1.32. Oil prices are off their highs triggered by a smaller than expected increase in crude oil inventories. WTI is below $54 after topping that level.
Cryptocurrencies have recovered from a sell-off earlier this week, with Bitcoin trading near $9,700.