At 9am the pound was 1.2340 dollars compared to 1.2296 dollars at the previous close after Boris Johnson, 55, was taken into an intensive care late on Monday after his condition had deteriorated rapidly over the preceding 24 hours. His foreign minister Dominic Raab is deputising for him to lead the government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Analysts said that while news of Mr Johnson’s condition was clearly a concern, beyond a short-lived dip in Asian hours it had not yet moved the pound because it was unlikely to mean a change in the government’s policy direction to fight the virus.
The euro at 9am was 0.8810 pounds compared to 0.8789 pounds at the previous close.
Meanwhile, the euro shot up 0.7 percent to $1.0865 to snap a six-day run of falls and the Australian dollar jumped over 1.5 percent to its highest in a week.
New Zealand’s dollar rose 1.3 percent too, while the Japanese yen shook off an early dip to clamber up to 108.92 per US dollar.
While the US dollar, which has been soaking up safe-haven flows for weeks, slipped against most major currencies.
There was an added boost from commodity markets as oil climbed nearly 3 percent on supply cut hopes, while currency markets also came alive as a tumbling dollar saw the euro race out of a six-session rut of falls.
It wasn’t only oil driving commodities markets higher either, copper punched up to a 3-week high with a 3 percent gain for industrial metals, while safe-haven gold wilted.
Meanwhile, world stock markets enjoyed a second day of sharp gains as signs of progress against the coronavirus in both Europe and the US kept investors charging back in.
Japan’s Nikkei followed up Wall Street’s 7 percent surge on Monday with a 2 percent jump as its government promised a near $1 trillion stimulus package – equal to a fifth of its GDP.
Europe quickly got in the swing of things too.
London’s FTSE 100 climbed over 3 percent, as the respective markets in Frankfurt, Paris and Milan all bounded higher.
Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 1.3 million people and killed over 74,000, and though the numbers are still rising in many highly-populated countries, some tentative improvements have given hope.
In hardest-hit Italy and Spain, authorities have started looking ahead to easing lockdowns after steady falls in fatality rates.
While in the US, the daily number of deaths in the country’s worst-affected area, New York, has also shown signs of steadying
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