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Risk sentiment returns as some nations ease lockdowns

Chris Lee

Risk appeared to be firmly back on the agenda in the foreign exchange markets on Monday after some economies around the world signalled that they would re-open soon.

In Europe, for example, Italy revealed its plans to get its economy back on track by permitting some firms to open again.

The country was particularly badly affected by the coronavirus and was at one stage a European hotspot.

Similar moves seemed to be underway across the Atlantic too.

In the US, the federal system there means that some lockdown-related decisions appear to be happening on a state by state basis.

Despite the fact that the long-term economic effects of the lockdown are still not fully clear, the move was broadly welcomed by those traders looking to increase risk.

The greenback appeared to be one of the victims of this general global move away from lockdown.

It had previously enjoyed a boost in the forex markets due to being a supposedly safe bet – but once risk seemed more tolerable, it appeared to dip.

In the dollar index, which is a tool used by the markets to assess where the dollar is in relation to several other currencies, the currency was down by over 0.3%.

Traders at City Index who were tracking the currency’s performance noticed it at 99.90 at one stage.

Europe also appeared to benefit from the glimmer of hope in terms of easing lockdown restrictions.

However, the bloc’s currency was boosted further by news from late last week that Standard & Poor’s, which is a credit rating agency, had decided to keep Italy’s credit rating in place.

The rating was kept at BBB, although many in the markets had expected it to go down.

The single European currency was up by 0.3% in its pair against the US dollar.

It was noted at $1.0852 at one point.

In Australia, the local dollar rose significantly – again thanks to decisions to ease lockdown measures.

The state of Western Australia, which contains the major city of Perth, was one of the states to commit to reducing social distancing measures this week.

Queensland, which contains Brisbane, also committed to reducing measures.

The Australian dollar soared at the news, going up by well over a percentage point against the US dollar.

The Aussie was seen at $0.6465 at one point during the day, which was its best performance since the middle of last month.

In Asia, the dollar was also down against the major safe haven the Japanese yen.

The yen surged forward as the effects of a decision by the country’s central bank, the Bank of Japan, to announce a further set of stimulus measures continued to dominate the news there.

It said that it would buy up some bonds and did not set a limit on how many it would purchase.

In this pair, the greenback saw almost half a percentage point shaved off its value at one stage.

It was spotted at 107 yen at one point, which was its worst performance since the middle of this month.

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Chris Lee
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