GBP - British Pound
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spent the night in intensive care at St Thomas's Hospital in Central London after his coronavirus symptoms worsened. Mr Johnson, 55, has been given oxygen but has not been put on a ventilator, cabinet minister Michael Gove said. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been asked to deputise for the PM. Arriving at No 10 on Tuesday, he said the prime minister was "in very good hands". World leaders have sent messages to Mr Johnson wishing him well.
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the government will "continue to work" as decisions are made collectively by the cabinet. He also sounded a warning to people who have broken social distancing guidelines, saying "if the most powerful man in Britain can come down with this, so can you".
Early signs of COVID-19 curve flattening in Europe and the US kicked off some positive moves for currencies and equities yesterday morning. Risk appetite is improving as the daily death toll in Spain and France rise at a slower pace. In Italy, new cases appear to be levelling off and in New York new confirmed cases are rising at a slower pace. In the UK, we have reached 5,373 with 51,608 people tested positive, increase of 403 from previous day.
These trends suggest that lockdown measures are working but it is still too early to tell if these improvements are sustainable. Hospitalisations tend to be lighter over the weekend and in some countries in Asia where it seemed like the curve flattened, new cases are cropping up. Singapore announced fresh lockdown measures last week while Japan plans measures in Tokyo and six other areas that would allow governors to issue stay at home orders and direct businesses to close. In South Korea, the country that moved the quickest on containing the virus and eased lockdown measures in March is now seeing a second wave that tells us curves don’t stay flat. The bright side is that after a spike last week, South Korea reported only 47 new cases on Sunday compared to 81 earlier.
The US dollar and US equities remain resilient overnight despite the abysmal US unemployment data last week, with non farm payrolls falling by 700,000 with April figures due to be even worse. Latest US unemployment data released on Thursday could be as bad as 5 million more unemployed.
The strongest currencies this morning are the Australian and New Zealand dollars. Main focus will be on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy announcement. The RBA cut interest rates by 50 bp since the beginning of the year. About 2.5 weeks ago they surprised the market with a quarter point emergency cut that took interest rates to an all time low of 0.25%. They also launched quantitative easing for the first time ever.
1.1260 - 1.1390 ▼GBP/USD:
1.2240 - 1.2380 ▲EUR/USD:
1.0820 - 1.0930 ▲GBP/AUD:
1.9810 - 1.9990 ▼GBP/NZD:
2.0360 - 2.0650 ▼