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USD up despite disappointing non-farm payrolls and Japan’s economic recovery raises further concerns

• Dollar managed to have some gains despite disappointing non-farm payrolls on last Friday
• Fitch confirms rating ‘A’ for Japan with a negative outlook on economic recovery

Global equities market recovered this past week with indices performing well not just in North America but also in Europe and APAC. On Wall Street, S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq Composite surged 4.65%, 3.89% and 6.01% respectively. VIX, which measures market’s risk sentiment and volatility, receded to its lowest in two months. Despite the risk-on tone, USD managed to have some gains against Swiss Franc, Euro and Japanese Yen, while losing to Australian Dollar, New Zealand and British Pound.
Most of USD’s decline, however, came from the disappointing payrolls data. On Friday, the non-farm payrolls were released at 49k, better than the previous -227k but slightly lower than the forecast at 50k. However, the unemployment rate landed at 6.3%, lower than the consensus at 6.7%. Very soon the US will publish its federal budget and inflation figures later in the week, and economic indicators such as consumer price index will also be released on Friday. A key to watch is the longer-term Treasury yields, which have been rising for quite some time. The 30-year bill closed at its highest since last February and has been pushing up USD while weighing on the prices of precious metal such as gold and silver.
As for Japan, the US-based Fitch Ratings affirmed Japan’s sovereign credit rating at ‘A’ while maintained a negative outlook. Fitch’s reasoning being that the continued downside risks from the macroeconomic and fiscal outlook will remained pressured especially amid surging cases of COVID. Moreover, Fitch has also commented that it expects the Bank of Japan to maintain its current monetary policy settings over the year. According to the latest poll from economists conducted by Reuters, private consumption in Japan, which accounts for more than half of the economy, likely only rose by 1.8% in 2020Q4, compared with a 5.1% in Q3.