- Japan’s Q4 GDP beat expectations, setting a positive tone for APAC markets
- GBP back on strength as USD continued the loss
- Bitcoin hit new all-time high as mainstream banks embraced it
Monday’s market remains closed for the US, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, due to Washington’s Birthday and Chinese New Year holidays. Therefore, be ready to expect low liquidity and light trading activity. Elsewhere in APAC, markets kicked off with a positive tone. The ASX 200 index opened 0.8% higher, led by energy, materials and information technology sectors, as prices in crude oil, copper, iron ore and nickel extend the rising trend. On the macro front, Japan’s Q4 GDP QoQ reading landed at an annualized rate of 12.7%, higher than the forecast at 9.5%. This strong reading seems to have set a positive tone for APAC markets in general.
In Eurozone, GBPUSD surged over its two-year highs on Friday to $1.3850, and remained on track for its 5th weekly win, mainly led by the speedy vaccine rollout schedule. So far, the UK has rolled out more than 14 million vaccines and by mid-February the government expects to meet the 15-million target. Investors’ concern over a prolonged lockdown has thus been erased. Another factor that benefits GBP is the EURUSD recovery, partially driven by the USD decline. The pair gained 0.59% on Friday.
Bitcoin hit a new all-time high at $49,000 on Friday after BNY Mellon, the oldest bank in the US, embraced cryptocurrencies. It claims that, holding, transferring and issuing bitcoin as well as other cryptocurrencies on behalf of its asset-management clients will be accepted. About the same time, an investment arm of Morgan Stanley said it was considering betting on bitcoin as well. Increasing mainstream attention and adoptions continue to support the prices, which have already advanced over 50% in the past two weeks.