Japanese Yen Strong as Coronavirus Panic Persists

The Japanese yen was among the strongest currencies on the Forex market today, rising against almost all of its major peers, though not against the Swiss franc, another refuge currency, and the surprisingly strong New Zealand dollar. The worsening coronavirus pandemic was driving investors to safer assets, including the yen. Domestic macroeconomic reports were mixed, giving no reason for the currency to move in any particular direction.
It looks like China was able to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus disease, reporting just 143 new cases yesterday. But the virus continued to spread across other countries, including the United States, and Britain reported the first death from the disease. South Korea was the worst-affected country outside of China, with a total of 6,284 cases and 40 deaths.
As for Japan’s economic data, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare reported that average cash earnings rose by 1.5% in January from the same month of the previous year, whereas analysts were expecting a much smaller increase of just 0.2%. According to the report from Japan’s Cabinet Office, the Leading Index fell from 91.0% in December to 90.3% in January. Data from the Statistics Bureau of Japan showed that household spending fell by 3.9% in January over the year, matching forecasts, after decreasing by 4.8% in the previous month.
USD/JPY dropped from 106.15 to 105.44 as of 18:15 GMT today, with its daily low of 104.99 being the lowest level since August 2019. GBP/JPY declined from 137.39 to 137.11, and its daily low of 136.43 was the level not seen since October 2019. CHF/JPY rose from 112.24 to 112.44. NZD/JPY was up from 66.87 to 67.00.

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