Coronavirus death toll rises to 125

About 1,000 Americans were still stuck in the Chinese city at the center of the new coronavirus outbreak Tuesday, many hoping for seats on a U.S. government-chartered flight expected to leave early Wednesday. Anxiety in Wuhan, a quarantined city of 11 million people — and across Asia — was spreading as fast as the deadly virus.

The virus that emerged late last year had killed at least 125 people as of Tuesday, all of them in China. More than 4,500 others have been infected in more than a dozen countries, including five confirmed cases in the United States. More than 100 people in the U.S. were being tested for the disease across 26 states.

Public health officials from the U.S. and China have warned people to expect many more infections. The disease can be transmitted by people who are showing no symptoms, and a top British infectious disease specialist said Monday that the actual number of cases around the world could already be close to 100,000.

China has locked down more than 15 cities, including Wuhan, virtually quarantining a population of more than 50 million people in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The U.S. and other nations have been screening passengers arriving from China, and by Tuesday some neighboring countries were starting to impose further restrictions. Some Russian provinces said they would close their borders with China entirely.

CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
A security officer wearing protective clothing checks a passenger’s temperature at the entrance of a subway station in Beijing, January 28, 2020, amid efforts to contain a new coronavirus that has broken out in China. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty

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World – CBSNews.com

GBP – several red flags for longs

This via SG on sterling, in summary:

There are too many sterling bulls for comfort

Vulnerable long positions. Our positioning analytics are currently raising several red flags on GBP

  1. when CFTC positioning was comparatively long in April 2018, GBP/USD subsequently sold-off; 
  2. GBP/USD trades in overbought territory according to the 1y percentile of long positions at 92%; 
  3. and dry-powder analysis shows that long traders are excessively concentrated. 

we remain bullish GBP on a longer-term view but nervous for the months ahead. GBP/USD … looks vulnerable to another move towards 1.28

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Renault says will reopen Wuhan plant with partner Dongfeng on February 10

LONDON (Reuters) – Renault (PA:) will resume production at the factory it runs with Dongfeng Group (HK:) in Wuhan, Hubei province and the epicenter of the outbreak of a new flu-like virus, on Feb. 10, a spokeswoman for the French carmaker said on Tuesday.

The reopening of the plant will be eight days after the end of the extended Lunar New Year holiday in China, the world’s top car market.

On Monday, Beijing added three days to the week-long holiday, which will now last until Feb. 2 as it seeks to limit the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected thousands and killed more than 100.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Forex – Dollar in Demand, Euro, Pound Under Pressure

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse

Investing.com – The U.S. dollar remains strong Tuesday, as heightened concerns about the spread of the deadly coronavirus in China prompt demand for currencies as safer.

At 08:00 ET (0800 GMT), the traded 0.2% higher at 109.08, having fallen as low at 108.83 overnight. The Futures, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies, pushed up 0.1% to 97.81, approaching the levels last seen in early December. That follows broad gains against commodity currencies in recent days as the market has priced in the risk of a drop in Chinese demand for basic materials.

Additionally, traded at 1.1019, after briefly visiting the 1.10 neighbourhood – or fresh yearly lows – at the beginning of the week.

The positive tone around the dollar, in combination with global growth concerns amidst the spread of the Chinese virus, have kept under heavy pressure of late.

“The pair remains under pressure although off Monday’s year-to-date lows near the psychological 1.10 mark,” said analysts at FXStreet. “Dynamics around the buck are expected to remain the exclusive driver of the pair’s price action for the time being along with alternating risk appetite trends in response to developments from the Wuhan coronavirus.”

With this in mind, attention is likely to be turned to the start of the Federal Reserve’s two day rate-setting meeting Tuesday, as well as the latest data releases in the U.S..

are due at 8:30 AM ET (1330 GMT), and are expected to have risen 0.3% last month, while at 10:00 AM ET, the January consumer confidence index is expected to come in at 128 from 126.5 in December.

Sterling was also weaker early Tuesday in Europe, amid concerns that the country will not be able to reach a trade deal with the EU by the end of the post-Brexit transition period at the end of the year. and were both around 0.2% lower.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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PBOC confirms that Chinese markets to only resume trading on 3 February

Says that interbank markets will also observe the extended holiday period

For those unaware, China is observing an extended holiday until 2 February in an attempt to curb the spreading of the coronavirus infection. The central bank also reaffirms that they will offer ample levels of liquidity after the holidays via OMOs.
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Here’s a bank with a ‘chill out’ view on coronavirus

Adam posted the number of cases on Monday at 

  • Jan 27: 2,744

The update today is up 1700+ cases

  • Jan 28: 4,515

Yeah, most all of it happening in Wuhan, with some cases elsewhere in China and globally. Is it OK to relax on this? 

Barclays think so. Analysts there cite the 2003 SARS outbreak, and say if that is indicative the market is over reacting. Big market moves are due to stretched positioning and a not stellar global macro background picture.

S&P 500 shorts/put option holders probably not bothering to argue with anyone about whether its over done or not. 

On the other hand, folks who zoom out the chart to the past 10 years might well say its nothing. 

As is often the case in markets, something for everyone. 

Adam posted the number of cases on Monday at 

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Forex: Dollar Advance Kept in Check by Yen Amid Safe-Haven Rush

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim

Invesing.com – The dollar remained on the back foot Monday, pressured by a surprise fall in new home sales data and a bid in the yen and Swiss franc as worries intensified over the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The , which measures the greenback against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose by 0.12% to 97.97.

The Commerce Department said new home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of in December, confounding expectations for a 1.5% rise to 730,000 units.

The surprise drop in new home sales did little to steady the greenback against the yen and Swiss franc following a sharp uptick in safe-haven demand on reports of more Chinese deaths from the coronavirus.

fell 0.28% to $ 109.00 and fell 0.13% to 0.968.

The weakness in the greenback comes just a day ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting, which is expected to culminate in an unchanged interest rate decision.

slipped 0.02% to $ 1.1102 as unexpectedly slipped in January, denting hopes that the weakness in the manufacturing sector had steadied.

With just a few days go until the Bank of England decision and Brexit, the remained under pressure against the greenback falling 0.21% to $ 1.308.

rose 0.28% to C$ 1.3180 as the loonie tracked oil prices lower amid ongoing fears that a continued spread of the virus could dent travel and tourism, keeping a lid on oil demand.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Switzerland’s Central Bank Is Stomaching Stronger Franc For Now

(Bloomberg) — Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.

Sight deposits at the Swiss National Bank increased only marginally last week, suggesting President Thomas Jordan and his colleagues aren’t taking much action to counter the strengthening franc.

Iran-U.S. tensions and fears about the spreading Coronavirus has lifted the haven franc this year. Earlier on Monday, it breached the 1.07 per mark to touch a fresh three-year high.

Yet total sight deposits rose just 0.22% to 587 billion francs ($ 605 billion) in the week ending Jan. 24, central bank figures show.

While there’s been no evidence of interventions recently, the threat of action remains remains alive. SNB President Thomas Jordan told Bloomberg Television last week that the pledge to sell the franc if needed remains in place alongside the central bank’s record-low interest rates.

Last week, euro-area officials expressed optimism over signs of economic stabilization, citing easing global trade tensions and a mildly expansionary fiscal policy. UBS Group AG reversed its call for an SNB rate cut in March.

“The SNB is tolerating a bit stronger franc, maybe also because the economic environment is looking a bit better,” Credit Suisse (SIX:) Group AG economist Maxime Botteron said.

Responding to a U.S. decision to add Switzerland back on its watch list for currency manipulators, Jordan said the SNB was only looking to stave off deflationary conditions with its purchases of foreign currency.

He also said the SNB had the room to further cut its deposit rate, now at -0.75%,

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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What is the coronavirus illness blamed for multiple deaths in China?

Officials in China are racing to contain a deadly new strain of virus that has infected more than 2,000 people and left at least 80 dead. Chinese officials have blocked all transportation in and out of the city of Wuhan and surrounding areas, where the outbreak of the “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV” originated. 

As of Sunday, five cases of the illness have been confirmed in the United States — all in people who had recently traveled from Wuhan, China. U.S. health officials confirmed the first case on Tuesday, involving a man in his 30s in Seattle. The second case was confirmed Friday in a woman in her 60s in Chicago. Health officials said she was “doing well.” Over the weekend, two additional cases were confirmed n California and one in Arizona.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that more than 60 people in 22 states were being monitored for possible infection.

Health officials believe the virus was initially transmitted from animals to humans, but that human-to-human transmission of the flu-like illness is now occurring.

Chinese city quarantines 11 million as virus spreads

Here’s what you need to know:

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illnesses as minor as a cold, or as serious as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), according to the World Health Organization. They often present with pneumonia-like symptoms.

The viruses can be transmitted from animals to humans; the virus that causes SARS, for example, was originally transmitted to humans from a cat-like animal called a civet. But in some instances, as appears to be the case with this new strain of coronavirus, they can also be transmitted between humans. 

The World Health Organization said there are multiple known coronaviruses circulating in animals that have not yet been transmitted to humans.

How did the new strain start?

The outbreak began in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. Many of the early patients were reportedly linked to Hua Nan Seafood Wholesale Market, a large seafood and animal market in the city, according to CBS News’ Ramy Inocencio. But since then, a rising number of people have apparently contracted the virus without exposure to the market.

The market was closed on January 1, 2020 for “environmental sanitation and disinfection,” according to the World Health Organization

How many people have died?

At least 80 people have died from the illness, according to Chinese officials. Most of those deaths occurred in Wuhan, which is in the Hubei province. The first death was reported January 9. 

Where is it?

While the virus originated in the Wuhan area of central China, cases have also been reported in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, the U.S., Australia and France. 

First U.S. case of deadly coronavirus diagnosed in Washington state

How is it transmitted?

It’s well-established that coronaviruses can spread from animals to humans, according to the World Health Organization. But health officials confirmed there have been cases in which this virus has spread from human to human. 

Chinese state-run media quoted Zhong Nanshan, a scientist at the China’s National Health Commission, as saying such transmission was “affirmative.” The scientist did not say how many cases were the result of human-to-human transmission — but in one case, a hospital patient is said to have infected 14 medical workers, reports Inocencio.

What’s being done to stop the spread? 

The World Health Organization convened an emergency committee on the virus in Geneva, Switzerland. It said Thursday that the outbreak does not rise to the level of being designated an international public health emergency, but WHO will continue working with nations to contain it.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the CDC deployed public health workers to screen passengers arriving from Wuhan at five major ports of airline entry: New York-JFK, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago-O’Hare.

The CDC said it has developed a test to diagnose the virus. Currently, that test must be administered at the CDC, but the organization is working to share the test with domestic and international partners.

In Hong Kong, which was ravaged by SARS in 2002 and 2003, hospitals upped their alert level to “serious” and implemented temperature checkpoints for inbound travelers.

While China has closed transportation in and out of Wuhan and 12 other cities, there are concerns that as hundreds of millions of people travel around the country to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the virus could spread even faster.

Is it safe to travel?

On Thursday, the CDC issued a level 3 travel warning — its highest level — urging people to avoid all non-essential travel to the city of Wuhan, China, due to the coronavirus outbreak. The federal health agency advises anyone who must go there to avoid contact with sick people, animals, animal markets and animal products.

“Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider,” the CDC said.

The agency is urging people to seek medical care right away if they traveled to Wuhan in the past two weeks and have a fever, cough or trouble breathing. It says older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be most at risk for severe illness from the virus.

“Preliminary information suggests that older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease from this virus,” it said.

U.S. begins airport screenings as coronavirus spreads in China

Ramy Inocencio and Grace Qi contributed to this report. 

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Fibre-laying tools aid rural broadband rollout

Infrastructure firm Openreach is using a range of tools, including ditch diggers and diamond cutters, to speed up the rollout of ultrafast broadband services to hard-to-reach rural areas.

Laying fibre can be disruptive, slow and expensive, so labour-saving devices can play an important role, it said.

The firm is adding more than 200 market towns and villages to its full fibre rollout.

But it still wants the government to do more.

Openreach’s chief executive Clive Selley said: “Openreach has always been committed to doing our bit in rural Britain – delivering network upgrades in communities that are harder to reach and less densely populated. We intend to build a significant portion of our full-fibre network in these harder-to-reach areas of the UK, and are announcing 227 locations today.

“Our ambition is to reach 15 million premises by mid-2020s if the right investment conditions are in place. Currently, the biggest missing piece of this puzzle, is getting an exemption from business rates on building fibre cables, which is critical for any fibre builder’s long-term investment case.”

Matthew Howett, founder of research firm Assembly, sympathised with Openreach’s frustration over business rates.

“It’s a barrier that the whole industry is behind removing. Currently in England the exemption only lasts for five years, and 10 years in Scotland, but for the operators the business case for rolling out fibre is over a much longer period, often over 15 years.”

He also acknowledged that “broadband, while digital, can still be a very analogue and labour-intensive job to install”.

“As much as 70% of the cost of rolling out broadband is in the civil works – the digging, manual labour and road closures that go with it. So, any innovations that reduce these costs will ultimately result in broadband being deployed faster, and to more people.”

Tools helping to speed up the job include:

  • Diamond cutter – a giant rotating blade with diamonds embedded in the metal coating means it can slice through roads and pavements, leaving a neat channel to feed fibre-optic cables into
  • Ditch witch – a blade carves a narrow trench, eliminating the need to dig manually
  • Ground-penetrating radar – pulses of high frequency radio waves are sent through the ground

Broadband choices

There are three main types of broadband connection that link the local telephone exchange to your home or office:

  • ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) uses copper cables to a street-level cabinet or junction box and on to the house
  • FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) uses a faster fibre-optic cable to the cabinet, but then copper cable from there to the house
  • FTTP (fibre to the premises or full-fibre) uses a fibre-optic cable to connect to households without using any copper cable

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