The Australian dollar was mixed today as market participants were digesting news about the coronavirus that has started in China. The Aussie was flat against a range of major currencies, jumped versus the Canadian dollar, and dropped against the Great Britain pound. Macroeconomic reports released in Australia today were poor.
On Tuesday, markets were in a risk-off mode as a dangerous coronavirus has broken out in China and started to spread to other countries. But on Wednesday, the market sentiment improved as apparently investors were content with efforts that China and other affected countries were making to stop the spread of the infection. There is still a danger, though, that the World Health Organization may label the disease as an international public health emergency, making countries limit international travel.
As for Australian data, the Conference Board Leading Economic Index for Australia decreased 0.3% in November following an increase of 0.2% in the previous month. At the same time, the Conference Board Coincident Economic Index for Australia increased by 0.3% in November.
The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment declined 1.8% in January from December after dropping by 1.9% in the preceding reporting period. The report commented on the result:
It is entirely reasonable to have expected that the Index would have fallen during this period of devastating bushfires. Perhaps it is somewhat surprising that the fall in the Index was not more severe particularly in light of the 5.8% fall we saw during the Queensland floods in 2011.
AUD/USD traded at about 0.6841 as of 16:42 GMT today after opening at 0.6844. AUD/CAD gained from 0.8945 to 0.8971, while GBP/AUD jumped from 1.9057 to 1.9193.
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