Risk-on currencies down over second wave worries

Chris Lee
Risk-on currencies down over second wave worries

Some of the world’s primary barometers of forex market risks went down in value on Monday after a wave of new cases of coronavirus appeared to emerge in China.

The new cases, which were spotted in the capital city of Beijing and which have all been connected in some way to a wholesale food market there, sent the values of various currencies down as trading kicked off for the week.

The country is understood to now be increasing its levels of testing after the rise in cases.

The food market in question is called Xinfadi and has been described by some as Asia’s biggest food market.

The Antipodean currencies such as the Australian dollar, which is linked both to risk and to the performance of China, were down despite having enjoyed a broadly positive run in recent weeks.

The Aussie dollar was seen down by almost two-fifths of a percentage point at one stage in its pair against the US dollar, reaching $0.6827 in that pair.

In New Zealand, the local dollar went down by 0.33% in this pair, reaching $0.6420.

In China itself, the offshore version of yuan, which is the side of the currency that trades on the open market around the world rather than just domestically in China, was down.

Concerns about the potential return of the coronavirus pandemic more widely also fuelled the overall attitudes within the markets.

In the US, for example, it was revealed that new cases had also begun to tick upwards in some states – the same applied to the rate of hospitalisations.

There is also some central banking action on the cards this week.

The Bank of Japan is set to meet on Tuesday.

However, it is not expected that there will be any significant policy moves emerging from this meeting.

The Bank of England is also due to meet, this time on Thursday.

Policymakers at the Bank are likely to find themselves dealing with a double set of potential problems: the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing Brexit saga being another.

It is now expected that the Bank will boost its quantitative easing programme, perhaps with an injection of £100bn.

The British government appears to be wedded to the idea of pursuing Brexit as planned overall even despite the coronavirus pandemic.

This would mean that the planned trade deal needs to be concluded before the end of this year.

Fears that this might not take place with the requisite speed fuelled concerns for pound sterling traders on Monday.

The pound was down by just under a quarter of a percentage point against the greenback – it reached $1.2510 at one point.

The currency also went down somewhat in its pair against the single European currency.

Here, it was seen at 89.91 pence to each euro.

The euro itself, however, managed to tread water against the greenback as trading got underway.

It was noted at $1.1247 at one stage in this pair.

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Chris Lee
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