Dollar Edges Higher as Virus Fears Ease; Euro Weakens By Investing.com



Investing.com – The U.S. dollar is showing some strength against the safe haven Japanese yen Friday as a degree of calmness returns to traders who have fretted all week over the new pneumonia-like virus in China.

By 02:50 ET (0750 GMT), the dollar had climbed 0.1% against the yen, with trading at 109.54. The Futures, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies, edged up 0.1% to 97.53.

Elsewhere, the euro has shown weakness after the European Central Bank indicated no immediate movement from its current monetary policy stance at Thursday’s meeting. President Christine Lagarde told Bloomberg Friday insisted that the bank is not on “autopilot” but others were skeptical.

“As long as the economy rebounds as expected, with a stimulus already in the pipeline, the ECB will likely hold off any major policy adjustments until it has completed its policy review,” Berenberg Bank chief economist Holger Schmieding said in a research note.

“The ECB will still closely monitor inflation, highly accommodative monetary policy is still needed, and the ECB stands ready to use all instruments. In other words, the easing bias remains in place,” said analysts at Nordea, in a research note.

Overnight, The number of cases of patients infected with the new virus as of January 23 has gone up to 830 in China, while the death toll from the virus has risen to 25, the National Health Commission announced on Friday.

Late Thursday, the World Health Organization stopped short of calling the virus a global health emergency, even as the number of cases of patients infected with the new virus topped 800 in China, with the death toll rising to 25.

“Make no mistake, this is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global health emergency,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general, said at a briefing in Geneva Thursday.

President Christine Lagarde’s comments did not imply any increased reservations towards using any of the tools at the ECB’s disposal, the note said. “If downside growth risks increase again in the coming months, as we expect, the market should not have any problems pricing in a higher risk of further stimulus measures.”

With this in mind, “the EUR is not about to receive support from the ECB policy any time soon.”

At 02:50 ET (0750 GMT), traded 0.1% lower at 1.1048 and down 0.1% at 0.8417.

With the outlook for growth being so important in the ECB’s eyes, traders will focus on the various PMI data due for release Friday, and in particular the German number, due at 3:30 AM ET (0830 GMT).

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