The Euro steadied in Asian trade Friday morning after steep losses yesterday and after notching its biggest monthly fall – 4% – against the dollar in nine months. This as investors digested slightly disappointing Chinese data, political uncertainty in Italy and impending US government spending cuts. These combined factors sapped investor’s risk appetite and put the Euro under increased pressure.
China’s official purchasing managers’ index for February showed manufacturing activity at its slowest pace in four months at 50.1 against the predicted consensus poll of 50,2 slightly lower than expected. The data is not dramatic. Risk-off sentiment doesn’t usually help the Euro, but the Chinese data is not a major factor. The unclear situation in Italy is the basic worry. Euro/USD is trading at 1.3073 well above the 1.3018 hit earlier in the week. The European Central Bank (ECB) will consider interest rates today. A further cut will put the Euro under new pressure.
The Japanese yen was relatively steady against both Euro and USD. USD/JPY trades at 92.64. The yen which usually is regarded as a safe haven in times of heightened market stress, continue to under perform after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated an advocate of aggressive growth and stimulus policy to head the Bank of Japan.
The big worry in global markets is nevertheless how the sweeping US budget cuts worth USD 85 billion starting from this month, will hit growth in the world’s biggest and the global economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the cuts would hit US biggest trading partners especially hard. In Washington the blame game between Republicans and Democrats are in full swing with both parties accusing each other for failure to prevent the fiscal crisis.
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