Here is what you need to know on Thursday, February 13:
Coronavirus: China reported a leap of nearly 15,000 infections and 240 deaths, reversing the trend of deceleration in the disease’s spread. The change is due to methodology change and serves to confirm those fearing the numbers are higher. The economic damage continues spreading with Barcelona canceling the annual Mobile World Congress conference which attracts 100,000 visitors and China shutting down a refinery and suffering from a plunge in auto sales.
The reaction in markets is adverse, with the dollar, yen, and gold on the rise, and all other currencies sliding. After US stocks closed at yet another record high, futures are pointing lower.
See Coronavirus: Top five safe-haven assets to buy in times of trouble in 2020
EUR/USD has been extending its falls even before the latest coronavirus news and it hit the lowest since May 2017. Fears about Germany’s manufacturing slump and extended monetary easing by the European Central Bank are weighing heavily on the common currency. The recent political crisis, which has left a void at Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU party, is another negative factor. The EU publishes new economic forecasts later today.
GBP/USD has been more stable, trading at the 1.29 handle as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing a government reshuffle. Tensions ahead of official post-Brexit talks with the EU persist.
Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, said that in case of a downturn, the Fed will use Quantitative Easing and forward guidance “aggressively.” In the second day of testimony, he reaffirmed his stance that the expansion has all the reasons to continue while saying the Fed is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak.
The US releases Consumer Prices Index data for January, and annual Core CPI, the most significant figure, is set to show a slowdown from 2.3% to 2.2%.
See CPI Preview: Inflation’s academic exercise
Cryptocurrencies have continued advancing gradually with Bitcoin trading near $10,500, Ethereum topping $270, and Ripple’s XRP surging above $0.30.