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Risk-on trading weakens as Fed signals willingness to help if coronavirus spreads

Fed Chair Powell tells congress the coronavirus’ impact on the Chinese economy may spill over to affect the US economy in which case the Fed stands ready to act.  The dollar sold off against most currencies as financial markets begin to view the impact of the virus as limited resulting in risk-on trading and selling of safe-haven assets.

“The very essence of instinct is that it's followed independently of reason”

Charles Darwin
  • FX Rates
    February 11, 2020

    Rates are not real time. Rates are today's indicative mid-market rates as of time of publishing, which may vary. Please contact SVB for a current quote.

  • USD

    Jerome Powell delivers his economic views before the House Financial Committee today for the first of a two day semi-annual testimony. The Fed is expected to reaffirm confidence in the economic outlook and steady monetary policy. The Democratic primary in New Hampshire tonight will be watched by markets for the emergence of a clear Democratic front-runner.  Markets have largely been pricing in a Trump re-election and could correct significantly should the Democrats put forward a contender.


    The pound strengthened today as GDP data came in better than expected, offset somewhat by worse than expected manufacturing data for December.  Some FX market participants are calling a low on the pound and expect the pound to strengthen to 1.35 before year-end.


    The euro was up against the dollar, but only slightly, as political uncertainty weighed on the common currency. Germany and Ireland are both facing political change as the economy stagnates across the eurozone.


    The loonie strengthened this morning as oil rebounded 2% off yesterday’s lows. Risk-on market sentiment helped the Canadian dollar and  equities.


    Japan’s yen slipped while the Australian dollar strengthened against the greenback.

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About the Author

Peter Compton is a senior foreign exchange advisor for Silicon Valley Bank’s global financial services group, and has been with SVB since 2007. He helps clients design and implement hedging strategies for foreign currency exposures. Compton has over 20 years experience in global financial markets.

Before joining Silicon Valley Bank, Compton spent seven years working in the European equity markets. Based in Germany, he spent four years with HSBC and three years as Head of Equity Sales for ABN-AMRO in Frankfurt. Prior to his work overseas, Compton spent seven years with Bank of America in San Francisco as an equity and fixed income derivative specialist.

Compton holds a bachelor's degree in business and management from the University of Rhode Island and a Master's of Business Administration from San Francisco State University.
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