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Expand chart
Data; FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

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.

Go deeper: Economists warn coronavirus risk far worse than realized

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.