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Haven demand surges after US Defense Department states a strike in Baghdad killed Iranian general Qassem Solimani

Statement from the US Defense Department regarding the airstrike that killed top Iranian commander Qassem Solimani pushed markets to risk-off sentiment. This news comes at a time when the risk sentiment is already fragile as investors evaluate other geopolitical situations including the US-China trade negotiations and Brexit. Iran has threatened “severe retaliation” which has supported haven trades.

“Human kindness can be found in all groups, even those which as a whole it would be easy to condemn.”
Viktor Emil Frankl
  • FX Rates
    January 3, 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
    The US dollar is stronger against its peers aside from the yen on the news out of Iran. Focus will be on US economic data due later today (ISM manufacturing) and minutes from the Fed’s December meeting.
    GBP
    Sterling extended losses trading below 1.3100 and wiping out 1.4% of gains from earlier this week. Data out of the UK showed that construction PMI contracted for the eighth month, the longest period since the financial crisis. Weak data could push the Bank of England to cut rates, money markets are pricing in a 16bp cut to rates by the end of 2020.
    EUR

    EUR/USD is set for a weekly decline falling about 0.3%. The currency pair continues to trade below 1.1200.

    CAD
    The loonie remains largely unchanged against the US dollar as support from the rally in crude oil offsets the safe havens play for US dollar purchases. Crude oil has rallied 3.7% on news of tensions between Iran and the US. Later today Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, Carolyn Wilkins, will speak on a panel to discuss Women in Central Banking.
    ASIA/PACIFIC

    The Japanese yen strengthened to a two-month high vs the US dollar as the market shifted to risk-off sentiment following news of a US airstrike killing a top Iranian commander. Both AUD/USD and NZD/USD are down almost 1%, trading around 0.6950 and 0.6660 respectively.

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For more analysis on FX markets or information regarding SVB's FX services:

Contact your respective SVB FX Advisor or the SVB FX Advisory Team at fxadvisors@svb.com.
See all of SVB's latest FX information and commentary at www.svb.com/foreign-exchange

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About the Author

Cate Camerota is currently an FX Advisor at Silicon Valley Bank focusing on early stage and growth Technology names in New England and Eastern Canada. Prior to SVB, Cate worked in FX Sales/Trading at Wells Fargo and Citizens Bank where she supported a portfolio of Middle Market and Mid-Corp clients throughout the Northeast. Cate helped clients identify FX risk and implement strategic hedging programs.

Outside of work, Cate is involved with the Boys & Girls Club of Boston Friends Council, Ladies FORE Finance (women's golf league) and My Life My Choice.

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