Japanese Yen Rallies on Returning Fears of Coronavirus

The Japanese yen gained against most other major currencies today, with the exception of the Australian dollar, which got a boost from domestic employment data. The resurging fears about the spread of the coronavirus from China were the main driver for the yen’s rally. Domestic macroeconomic data was also supportive of the Japanese currency.
Markets were cautious after the news that China basically quarantined Wuhan, halting travel to the city. The city of 11 million is believed to be the source of the outbreak. Analysts pointed out that authorities acted swiftly and decisively to prevent further spread of the epidemic, thus the current fall of the Asian stock market is more a precaution than outright panic. Nevertheless, there is concern that the move might be too late as there were plenty of people traveling in and out of the city before closure. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization should decide later today whether to declare a global health emergency.
As for macroeconomic data, the trade balance deficit was at Â¥0.1 trillion in December, little changed from Â¥0.09 trillion in November. Ahead of the report, analysts had predicted an increase to Â¥0.24 trillion. The All Industry Activity Index rose by 0.9% in November after tanking by 4.8% in October. That is a noticeably bigger increase than 0.4% predicted by economists.
USD/JPY sank from 109.83 to 109.51 as of 8:44 GMT today. EUR/JPY declined from 121.84 to 121.43. GBP/JPY dropped from 144.30 to 143.78.

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