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The Weekly Wrap – U.S PMIs and the Coronavirus Drive Risk Aversion

February 22
13:04 2020

Out of the Eurozone

It was a quiet start to the week economic data front, with economic data limited to economic sentiment figures out of Germany and the Eurozone.

The numbers were skewed to the negative, with investor concerns over the effects of the coronavirus weighing.

The Eurozone’s Economic Sentiment Index fell from 25.6 to 10.4, with the German Sentiment Index falling from 26.7 to 8.7.

In the 2nd half of the week, however, the stats were skewed to the positive.

Consumer confidence seemed unaffected by the spread of the coronavirus. Germany’s GfK Consumer Climate Index fell by 9.9 to 9.8, with the Eurozone’s consumer confidence rising from -8.1 to -6.6.

At the end of the week, prelim private sector PMI numbers were also skewed to the positive.

Manufacturing sector activity picked up in February, with the Eurozone’s PMI hitting a 12-month high.

While the Eurozone’s Composite rose from 51.3 to 51.6, it wasn’t all smooth sailing, with new orders continuing to weigh.

Finalized inflation figures from member states and the ECB monetary policy meeting minutes had a muted impact on the EUR.

For the week, the EUR rose by 0.15% to $ 1.0847, with a 0.57% rally on Friday reversing losses from the week.

For the European major indexes, it was a bearish week. The DAX30 fell by 1.20% to lead the way, with the CAC40 and the EuroStoxx600 ending the week down by 0.65% and by 0.61% respectively.

Elsewhere

It was a particularly bearish week for the Aussie Dollar and the Kiwi Dollar.

In the week, the Aussie Dollar fell by 1.30% to $ 0.6627, with the Kiwi Dollar down by 1.38% to $ 0.6349.

For the Aussie Dollar

It was a relatively quiet week for the Aussie Dollar on the economic data front.

Key stats included 4th quarter wage growth numbers on Wednesday and January employment figures on Friday.

It was a mixed set of numbers, however. Wage growth continued to grow at a tepid pace of 0.5%, with the unemployment rate rising from 5.1% to 5.3%.

There was a 46.2k jump in full-time employment to limit the negative sentiment towards the Aussie Dollar on the day.

On the monetary policy front, the RBA Meeting Minutes added further pressure on the Aussie Dollar on Tuesday.

The rate statement released on 4th February had shown little concern over the likely effects of the coronavirus on the economy.

The minutes, however, sent a different message, with members also considering a rate cut at the meeting. All of this was in spite of the RBA expecting economic activity to pick up in the 2nd half of the year.

With the RBA minutes on the dovish side, risk aversion in the week added pressure on the Aussie Dollar. While numbers out of China showed the spread of the coronavirus slowing, cases elsewhere caused alarm.

For the Kiwi Dollar

It was a particularly quiet start to the week on the economic colander, with no material stats to provide direction.

A likely extended period of soft demand for goods from New Zealand weighed on the Kiwi Dollar in the week.

China’s measures to continue to contain the spread of COVID-19 is expected to weigh on demand for overseas goods.

In the 2nd half of the week, 4th quarter wholesale inflation figures on Thursday did little to support the Kiwi. Input price inflation eased from 0.9% to 0.1% in the 4th quarter. Economists had forecast an easing to 0.4%.

For the Loonie

It was a busy week on the economic calendar. Key stats included January inflation figures on Wednesday and December retail sales figures on Friday.

The numbers were mixed in the week, with a pickup in the annual rate of core inflation providing support mid-week.

Retail sales figures did little to impress, however, with retail sales stalling in December.

While the stats did provide direction, crude oil supply disruption provided support.

The Loonie rose by 0.20% to end the week at C$ 1.3225 against the Greenback.

For the Japanese Yen

It was a busy week on the data front.

At the start of the week, 4th quarter GDP numbers and finalized industrial production figures caught the markets off-guard on Monday.

In the 4th quarter, the economy shrank by 1.6%. Compared with the 4th quarter of 2018, the economy slumped by 6.3%.

Economic woes were attributed to the sales tax hike, typhoons, and the U.S – China trade war.

Of concern for the BoJ will be the fact that the contraction came before COVID-19 began to spread…

On Wednesday, trade figures were not much better, with Japan’s trade deficit widening from ¥154.6bn to ¥1,312.6bn.

While exports fell by 2.6% year-on-year, the numbers were not as bad as had been anticipated. February figures will give the markets a better idea of what impact the coronavirus has had on the Japanese economy.

At the end of the week, it was weak stats once more, however.

Japan’s Manufacturing PMI fell from 48.8 to 47.6, with the Services Sector PMI falling from 51.0 to 46.7.

Market jitters over the spread of the coronavirus weighed heavily on the Yen. Rising cases in Japan and the region led to the markets seeking safety elsewhere.

Economic data out of Japan suggested that there is more trouble ahead for the Japanese economy. Uncertainty over the coronavirus spread across the region was also a key driver to the Yen’s demise.

The Japanese Yen fell by 1.67% to end the week at ¥111.61 against the U.S Dollar.

Out of China

Economic data was on the lighter side in the week, with key stats limited to new loans for January.

New loans surged by CNY3,340.0bn in January, following a CNY1,140.0bn rise in December.

Outside of the numbers, the PBoC cut loan prime rates on Thursday, though not by the extent that the markets had anticipated.

The PBoC cut 1-year loan prime rates from 4.15% to 4.05%, with the 5-year LPR cut from 4.8% to 4.75%.

While the more modest cuts weighed on the markets on Thursday, updates on the coronavirus provided support. The number of cases in China was in decline in the week, with the number of deaths also falling.

Earlier in the week, fiscal and monetary policy support had given the Yuan a boost before a pullback to CNY7 levels against the Dollar.

The CSI300 rallied by 4.06%, while the Hang Seng slid by 1.82% in the week.

In the week ending 21st February, the Yuan fell by 0.58% to CNY7.0271 against the Greenback.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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