FX Update – January 31 – Brexit Day


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By: Stuart Cowell


Risk-off positioning in currencies came to an uncertain pause, amid a backdrop of sputtering stock markets amid continuing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in and out of China, and the economic-damaging impact that efforts to contain the contagion is having.

USDJPY edged out a two-day high as the Japanese currency saw some of its safe-haven premium erode. The pair posted a two-day high at 109.13, putting in a little distance from the 23-day low posted yesterday at 108.58. EURJPY also printed a two-day high, at 120.40, while AUDJPY fared a little less well, holding within its Thursday range, though settling above the three-and-a-half-month lows.

AUDUSD remained heavy after yesterday’s run to a three-and-a-half-month low at 0.6700. This is now the fifth consecutive week the Australian Dollar has declined, with markets factoring in the double-whammy economic impact of the worst-in-decades wildfires and the consequences of dealing with the coronavirus outbreak out of China (to which Australia is particularly exposed, given its strong trading links with China and vastly reduced Chinese tourist visitations over the Lunar New Year period). The RBA meet next week with expectations dimming of a rate cut, making the 0.6700 handle even more significant.

EURUSD has put in another sub-20-pip range so far, holding below yesterday’s one-week peak at 1.1039.

Cable built on the gains seen following yesterday’s BoE no-change policy announcement, which came contrary to at least some expectation for a rate cut. The Pound posted a fresh one-week high at 1.3135. EURGBP concurrently extended to a new one-week low, at 0.8400. Brexit day has dawned and at 23:00 GMT a very disunited kingdom leaves the EU after 47 years.

USDCAD remained buoyant, above 1.3200, although slightly off from yesterday’s seven-week high at 1.3226. The new high was concomitant with oil prices hitting one-year lows. This is now the fourth straight week USDCAD has risen, which has been concomitant with a four-week stretch of tumbling oil prices. The USOil benchmark has dropped by some 21% over this period.

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