AUD/USD up, risk tentatively coming back after vaccine boost

Chris Lee

Risk was the name of the game in the foreign exchange markets on Wednesday after it was revealed that a major US firm had made significant progress with a coronavirus-fighting vaccine.

Moderna said that it had created a vaccine that, while still in its development stages, managed to achieve certain immunology-related reactions in every tester who tried it.

Various currencies around the world that tend to be labelled as risky were up on the day – down in part, perhaps, to the news from Moderna.

The Australian dollar saw a rise of half a percentage point in its pair against the US dollar.

The Aussie was spotted t 0.701 in this pair at one stage.

Over in New Zealand, meanwhile, the other major Antipodean currency saw a similar level of rise.

This currency was at 0.6568.

A rise in these currencies tends to indicate that the forex markets are feeling in a risk-on mood, especially given the strong relationship between Australian and global trade.

The forex day was not, however, without some trepidation.

The US appeared unable to shake off its reputation for handling the coronavirus badly, with one state in particular under fire after a further spike in deaths.

While some major locations around the world are reporting next to no deaths, the US state of Florida saw more than 130 fresh deaths from the virus on Tuesday alone.

There was also some concern about the state of the diplomatic and economic relationship between China and the US.

Fears that the two nations may end up in a trade skirmish akin to the one they spent most of last year in have gone up recently after a row about the trading status of Hong Kong.

Overall, though, it was a day for riskier currencies to celebrate.

The euro continued to enjoy a good week, a move fuelled by expectations from traders that some sort of coronavirus stimulus package might be developed and announced by the governments of major European countries later this week.

The relevant summit is due to take place on Friday and Saturday.

These hopes were enhanced on Wednesday after government leaders in France and Germany hinted, albeit in different ways, that an agreement may be achieved.

The single European currency’s surge was also partly caused by the gaps created by the retreating of the dollar – a relationship that has been observed before in the forex markets.

Currencies of the Scandinavian countries saw particular successes.

The Norwegian crown, for example, was up by around half a percentage point against the greenback.

It was seen at 9.319 at one point.

In Sweden, meanwhile, the local crown there shot up to its best-performing position against the greenback since well over a year ago.

This appeared to be linked at least in part to the decision of the country’s central bank to avoid going back to the days of negative interest rates – a line it is holding even despite the global perception of the coronavirus pandemic as a growth-slowing juggernaut.


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