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Safe havens rise as coronavirus panic grips forex markets

David Hobart

The economic impact of the coronavirus continued to rage on Monday as big drops for stocks and oil had knock-on effects for foreign exchange traders.

Oil prices were down by a double-figure amount following the decision of the major oil-exporting Middle Eastern nation Saudi Arabia to reduce its oil prices and increase the amount it produces.

A downward move for US Treasury yields was also a significant factor in trading decisions.

The coronavirus has continued to spread across the world, with more than 110,000 people believed to be infected.

A range of measures have been put in place to combat the virus.

Schools and other public institutions are closed in some parts of the world, while entire regions have been placed on lockdown in some cases.

Italy, Iran and China – the place at which the virus originated – are among the nations to be badly affected.

The Japanese yen and the Swiss franc, which are widely considered to be the world’s two foremost safe haven currencies, were on the rise after the developments.

One-month implied volatility in the pair between the US dollar and the yen was up to its highest position in over a decade.

The greenback was down to 101.20 against the yen at one stage, which represented the former’s worst performance in over three years.

The beleaguered US currency also dropped in its pair against the Swiss franc too.

At one stage it was seen at 0.9280, which represented a 1.3% drop.

The dollar managed to regain some of the losses it had experienced earlier in the day in some respects.

It improved in its pairs with currencies from emerging markets and oil-exposed economies.

In its pair against the Norwegian crown, for example, it was up by over 3% – reaching 9.535 crowns at one point.

Across the border from the US in Canada, the Canadian dollar lost a percentage point and a half in this pair.

It was seen at C$1.3620 at one stage.

However, the greenback did not manage to improve against some major currencies.

In its pair against the single European currency, the euro went up by over an entire percentage point.

It was seen at its best position since the first month of last year at one stage.

This position was $1.1492.

This came on the day that the US Federal Reserve revealed that it would raise the amount of cash being put into the banking system to be certain that there were enough reserves in the sector.

While the coronavirus is widely expected to continue to occupy the minds of global forex traders tomorrow, there are still some other events scheduled in on the economic calendar as of Monday evening.

China’s consumer price index for February is coming out at 1:30am GMT and is expected to reveal a year on year drop from 5.4% to 5.2%.

Europe-wide gross domestic product information for Q4 of last year will be out at 10am GMT.

This is expected to show no change either year on year or quarter on quarter.

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David Hobart
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