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Safe havens in demand on China COVID woes

It was a volatile start to the week and the US sessions stayed with the theme. The US Dollar edged up to 106.74 on Monday, slightly recovering from a 3-1/2-month low of 105.32 with investors concerned about a global slowing economy and the spread of coronavirus in China.

Federal Reserve policymakers also spoke on Monday and bucking the sentiment that it will be soon time to slow the pace of interest rate hikes for the central bank to assess the economic landscape. Instead, due to a tight labour market James “Jim” Bullard, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis said that this gives the Fed a license to pursue a disinflationary strategy now.

New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams on Monday said that he believes the Fed will need to raise rates to a level sufficiently restrictive to push down on inflation, and keep them there for all of next year:

 “I do think we’re going to need to keep the restrictive policy in place for some time; I would expect that to continue through at least next year,” Williams said at a virtual event held by the Economic Club of New York, adding that he does not expect a recession.

Earlier this month, the Fed delivered its fourth straight 75 basis point rate increase and pushed borrowing costs to the highest since 2008 to tame stubbornly high inflation. Money markets are now pricing in a 70% chance that the central bank would deliver a smaller 50-bps rate hike in December.

Meanwhile, risk-off markets weighed on high beta currencies such as the pound, AUD and euro. ”The lockdowns may make it challenging for China to achieve its forecast economic growth which will also have implications for global economic growth,” analysts at ANZ Bank said in a note at the start of Tuesday’s trade in Asia.

In late afternoon trading, the S&P 500  was down 1.59%. The Nasdaq Composite declined 1.5% while Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.44%.

EUR/USD was down some 0.44% falling to a low of 1.0333 from a higher of 1.0496. GBP/USD dropped to 1.1940 from 1.2117. AUD/USD sank to 0.6642 from 0.6727. The yield on the US 10-year note was up 3bp to 3.71%. Oil prices dropped to their lowest level in nearly a year, but then rebounded as the lower prices ignited demand. WTI was up 0.5% to $76.93. Gold fell 0.7% to $1,741.02/oz. BTC/USD was down 1.2% and near the low of the day at 16,004.

Read More: Safe havens in demand on China COVID woes

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