March 3, 2020 / 9:30 AM / a month ago

FOREX-Yen, franc climb as coronavirus uncertainty outweighs stimulus hopes

* Euro knocked off five-week high

* Yen, Swiss franc gain as investors still see uncertainty

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - The safe-haven Japanese yen and Swiss franc gained on the dollar on Tuesday, as investors tempered hopes for the impact of global monetary easing with concern about how much it can do to combat the economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak.

Global stocks and oil rallied on Tuesday, and safe havens -- gold, the yen, and the franc -- were standouts as risk appetite grew in anticipation of stimulus from central banks.

G7 finance ministers and central bank governors hold a conference call later on Tuesday to discuss how to deal with the outbreak and its economic fallout.

The call, which French and Italian sources said begins at 1200 GMT, will comes with markets already betting the U.S. Federal Reserve will lead a round of global monetary easing.

The dollar fell as much 0.5% to 107.67 yen and to 0.9573 francs after Reuters reported, citing an unnamed G7 official, that the G7 draft statement had no fresh fiscal or monetary pledges.

"For many investors there is the view, perhaps, that central banks can do a lot to help the symptoms of this crisis but they're not going to entirely make it go away," said Jane Foley, currency strategist at Rabobank in London.

"There is going to be uncertainty about the economic impact of this virus, and given that, there will be safe haven demand."

In a statement, expected on Tuesday or Wednesday, the G7 countries will pledge to work together to mitigate damage to their economies, without giving specifics, a source with knowledge of the draft told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

That leaves investors again confronting fundamentals: The virus and the economic slowdown it is causing will hurt, and the damage looks as if it won't be confined to China-exposed assets.

The extra room to respond in the United States, where the Federal Reserve's benchmark rate is 1.5% to 1.75% compared with zero in Europe, has weighed on the dollar.

However, after the European Central Bank said it was ready to take "targeted" steps to fight virus's effects, the euro fell from a five-week high on Tuesday.

The dollar index was 0.1% higher at 97.641 and the euro was 0.2% lower at $1.111

The Australian dollar gained after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut interest rates by only 25 basis points, as anticipated. Markets had priced the possibility of a larger cut.

"Assurances of easier liquidity and fiscal support may help stabilise the sentiment in the very short term, but the risk of a higher rate of COVID-19 infections needs to be monitored closely," Citi EM Asia economist Johanna Chua said in a note.

"The situation remains fluid and a lot depends on how successful the G7 conference call is in keeping up with the expectations of coordinated easing."

Also due are euro zone inflation data at 1000 GMT and the Super Tuesday Democratic Party primaries in the United States. The Bank of Canada meets to set its policy rate on Wednesday.

Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho;

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