Markets are behaving strangely as investors attempt to make sense of the growing threat of the novel coronavirus. Assets that typically move in opposite directions are moving together, and assets that traditionally are very correlated are taking inverse tracks.
State of play: The market's two most popular safe-haven assets, gold and the Japanese yen, have decoupled and are moving in opposite directions.
- Gold has risen to its highest level since 2013, while the yen has fallen in value against the dollar to its weakest in nine months.
The big picture: “The big wave of risk-off has sort of dissipated right now, but still the economic fallout is buttressing the demand for gold,” Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp, told Reuters.
- “The stronger dollar is not really curbing the inflows to gold ... from an inflation perspective, a stronger U.S. dollar is working against the U.S. Federal Reserve’s inflation target and is pointing towards lower interest rates."
Of note: Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding gold and typically also reduce the attractiveness of holding dollars.