Forex - Japanese Yen Little Changed Despite Heightened Virus Worries
By Alex Ho
The Japanese yen was little changed against the U.S. dollar on Thursday in Asia despite heightened concerns surrounding the deadly coronavirus originating in China.
The USD/JPY pair last traded at 109.14 by 12:30 AM ET (04:30 GMT), up 0.02%.
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in China continued to soar and has overtaken the official number of infections in the country during the SARS epidemic.
On Wednesday, the Hong Kong government announced that it will close some border checkpoints and limit transportation from the mainland as an attempt to stop the virus from spreading even further.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and U.K. said this week that residents should avoid all non-essential travel to China. Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported today that the White House has told airlines that it may suspend all flights from China to the U.S.
The USD/CNY pair was unchanged at 6.9364.
The GBP/USD pair slipped 0.1% to 1.3020 as sentiment on sterling remains under pressure ahead of the Bank of England rate decision.
"The Bank of England will probably cut interest rates at one of its next two policy meetings following recent signs of U.K. economic weakness," First State Investments said.
But Capital Economics disagrees.
"While there remains a chance that interest rates will be cut this year, we think it is more likely that the markets are caught out by rates being left at 0.75% this year and being increased to 1.00% in 2021," Capital Economics said.
Potential worsening of Britain’s future relationship with the U.S. is also in focus after Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to grant Huawei a limited role in Britain's 5G mobile network.
The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies was little changed at 97.840.
The Federal Reserve is expected to keep its policy steady on Thursday. The U.S. will report fourth-quarter GDP later today.
The AUD/USD pair inched up 0.1% to 0.6768, while the NZD/USD pair fell 0.2% to 0.6530.