US stocks fell around 3.5% overnight, dragging down Asian indices on Friday as risk aversion reemerged amid another series of worrying headlines related to coronavirus. In mainland China, 143 new virus cases and 30 more deaths were registered. South Korea reported 518 new cases, and the total number now increased to nearly 6,300. Germany reported 534 confirmed cases, up from 400 yesterday. Singapore government officials said that coronavirus is starting to look like a global pandemic. Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank warned that coronavirus impact could cut global growth by 0.1 to 0.4% this year. The bank also said it could cut China GDP by 0.3 to 1.7% and for developing Asia by 0.2 to 0.5%.
These headlines made European equities open the day with sharp losses on Friday, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 shedding over 3.5%. As a reminder, the U.K. registered its first death from coronavirus, while the death toll in Italy has hit 41 yesterday. Meanwhile, US Treasury 10-year yields fell below 0.70% for the first time in history.
In currency markets, the risk-off sentiment is seen as well. USDCHF extended its fall to the lowest level since March 2018 while USDJPY plunged to fresh multi-month lows below the 105.00 handle and finishing the week with abrupt losses again. Still, the European currencies continue their ascent against the dollar despite a broad-based risk aversion. This is mainly due to the fact that traders have started to price in another rate cut by the Federal Reserve at the March meeting after an emergency cut earlier this week. As such, EURUSD has exceeded the 1.13 figure for the first time since mid-2019 while GBPUSD rebounded to the 1.30 key mark, where the 100- and 50-DMAs lie.
In other markets, bitcoin saw decent gains yesterday and preserves a mild upside bias on Friday. BTCUSD has got back above the $9,000 handle but is yet to confirm the recent breakout on a daily closing basis as the $9,100 area stands as a fairly strong resistance. For now, it looks like the pair will remain within a local range between the 50- and 200-DMAs.