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Coronavirus clobbers markets, dollar on the defensive (for now), Bitcoin battered

Here is what you need to know on Wednesday, February 26:

Markets are trying to find their feet after the second consecutive day of 3%+ drops in US shares. US ten-year bond yields fell to record lows, weighing on the US dollar. EUR/USD is near 1.09, GBP/USD temporarily topped 1.30, and USD/JPY dipped below 110 before stabilizing. Gold prices remain elevated at around $1,650.

The latest trigger has been a spread of the coronavirus disease to additional countries in Europe including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, and mainland Spain. The first infection was also reported in Brazil. The number of cases in South Korea has surpassed 1,100 while only China – the epicenter of the outbreak – has announced a deceleration in the number of deaths.

The World Health Organization has expressed concern about the spread of the respiratory disease but has refrained from declaring a global pandemic. Concerns are growing about the spread of the disease in the US after a warning from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Brexit: The EU published its mandate for talks about future relations with the UK which are set to begin on Monday. Brussels demands a level-playing field that London opposes. 

US data: The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence gauge for February missed expectations with 130.7, yet still at high levels. New Home Sales for January are set to show an increase. 

Fed: Neel Kashkari, President of the Minnesota branch of the Federal Reserve, speaks today. His colleagues at the central bank have expressed concern about coronavirus but have refrained from suggesting cutting rates. Markets are pricing three cuts by January 20201.

WTI Crude Oil is clinging to $50 after a sharp decline. Weekly oil inventory figures are eyed later in the day. 

Cryptocurrencies have dropped with Bitcoin trading around $9,200 and Ethereum around $240. 

See Dollar domination set to continue, with or without coronavirus fears

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