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Asian stocks push past coronavirus fears

Feb 19 2020, 10:24 AM (BDT) |



Most Asian stock indices are advancing, refusing to follow Wall Street’s cues after the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones index declined after returning from an extended weekend. Most Asian currencies however are weaker against the US Dollar, laying bare a truer reflection of investors’ underlying concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.


Covid-19 is set to frame the market action and policymakers’ reactions around the world over the near-term. The global economic outlook remains mired in uncertainty at this point in time, with coronavirus-related warnings emanating out of corporate America, the Eurozone economy, and Asian governments. In the interim, Asian currencies are expected to hold a bias for more softness so as to help ease some of the pressures off the respective economies.


Scarce challengers to King Dollar’s throne


The Dollar index has continued on its unrelenting advance this month, as it now carves out a larger gap above the 99 psychological level. With the Empire Manufacturing Index already hitting a nine-month high, the Dollar could climb further if Thursday’s Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook shows a better-than-expected reading for February.


The upcoming FOMC minutes release isn’t likely to hold significant sway over the Dollar, barring any surprise reveals from the Fed’s January policy meeting that could cause markets to reprice their expectations for the next US interest rate adjustment. With the Euro, the biggest component in the Dollar index, offering little resistance, coupled with the risk-aversion stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, the US Dollar has scant reason to come off these elevated levels.


Gold to remain well-bid amid coronavirus-related concerns


Gold has finally breached the $1600 psychological level for the first time since the US airstrike in Iraq, as investors increase their exposure to safe haven assets amid swirling concerns over the Covid-19 outbreak. The technical picture shows more headroom for Bullion before it breaks into overbought territory, which could see Bullion bulls testing the $1610 handle as long as markets persist with the risk-off mode.


Oil’s outlook clouded by coronavirus concerns


Brent futures are set to cap six consecutive days of gains, edging closer to the $60/bbl handle, as the latest US sanctions on a Rosneft unit offer Oil prices a gentle lift. Oil’s supply-demand fundamentals remain mired in uncertainty: OPEC+ has yet to officially decide on whether to deepen supply cuts, while investors are still trying to ascertain the toll on global demand from the coronavirus outbreak.

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