Market News & Analysis

Market Brief: US Troops To Remain In Iraq


View our guide on how to interpret the FX Dashboard

FX Brief:

  • The US denied reports that they were preparing to remove their troops from Iraq, after an unsigned letter was leaked online suggesting the US were doing just that. The top US general later told reporters the letter was “poorly worded” and that they’re not withdrawing troops.
  • Japan’s service PMI contracted at its fastest pace in over three years. This marks the second consecutive read below 50. New export business (and leading indicator for the headline print) was also at a 6-month low.
  • Volatility remained lower overall and safe-haven currencies (JPY, CHF) weakened slightly as safe-haven demand receded.  GBP and NZD are the strongest majors.

Price Action:

  • Yen pairs held key levels yesterday, yet it remains touch and go as to whether we’ll see a risk-on follow through or this is merely the calm before the storm and demand for the yen returns.
  • Gold has nearly closed the gap seen at this week’s open and is now hovering just above September’s high. A spinning top doji has formed on the hourly chart to suggest it is trying to carve out a swing low. If tensions escalate, bulls could look to enter if bullish momentum returns from current levels. Whereas a break below 1553.52 closes the gap and could singal further losses.
  • The decline on NZD/CAD has lost momentum and it’s trying to carve out a low above 0.8615 support and the 200-day eMA. One to watch for a potential rebound.
  • AUD/USD is clinging onto support around 0.6930, a pivotal level gong forward. NZD/USD has found support around 0.6650 but, with a stronger trend structure than AUD/USD, suggests further downside for AUD/NZD.
  • Bitcoin has risen to a 7-week high, although needs to break 8,000 to confirm a range breakout. Until then, bears could look to fade into resistance if they’re to assume the range will hold.

Equities Brief:

  • Key Asian stock markets have recovered partially from losses inflicted by the recent geopolitical turmoil seen in the Middle East in line with a retreat seen on prices of WTI crude oil and gold futures where both shed -1.22% and -0.50% respectively in today’s Asian session.
  • The current rebound has been attributed without any new escalation in the Middle East with Iran still “silent” after Tehran issued harsh words of “verbal retaliation” against U.S. in the weekend to vouch for revenge. But nothing is certain at this juncture and the political climate in the Middle East can swing to the other side of pendulum easily.
  • Japan’s services sector has continued to shrink together with the manufacturing industry. The finalised Jibun Bank Services PMI fell to 49.4 in Dec from 50.3 in Nov, its steepest contraction since Sep 2016. The weak print has been attributed by a sales tax increase and typhoon that have impacted negatively on business activity in Oct.
  • General Motor has reported a decline in vehicle sales (-15% y/y) in China for the second consecutive year for 2019 due to a slowing economy and intensified competition in the key mid-priced sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment.
  • Singapore has seen keen interest in the digital banking space where the regulator, MAS has received 21 applications to compete for five digital banking licences (two full-banking & three for wholesale banking) to be given out in Jun 2020. Major applicants include tied up between Grab and Singapore Telecommunications as well as Alibaba’s Ant Financial.

Matt Simpson and Kelvin Wong both contributed to this article

Data from Refinitiv. Index names may not reflect tradable instruments and not all markets are available in all regions.


This report is intended for general circulation only. It should not be construed as a recommendation, or an offer (or solicitation of an offer) to buy or sell any financial products. The information provided does not take into account your specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. Before you act on any recommendation that may be contained in this report, independent advice ought to be sought from a financial adviser regarding the suitability of the investment product, taking into account your specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs.

GAIN Capital Singapore Pte. Ltd., may distribute reports produced by its respective foreign entities or affiliates within the GAIN Capital group of companies or third parties pursuant to an arrangement under Regulation 32C of the Financial Advisers Regulations. Where the report is distributed to a person in Singapore who is not an accredited investor, expert investor or an institutional investor (as defined in the Securities Futures Act), GAIN Capital Singapore Pte. Ltd. accepts legal responsibility to such persons for the contents of the report only to the extent required by law. Singapore recipients should contact GAIN Capital Singapore Pte. Ltd. at 6826 9988 for matters arising from, or in connection with the report.

In the case of all other recipients of this report, to the extent permitted by applicable laws and regulations neither GAIN Capital Singapore Pte. Ltd. nor its associated companies will be responsible or liable for any loss or damage incurred arising out of, or in connection with, any use of the information contained in this report and all such liability is hereby expressly disclaimed. No representation or warranty is made, express or implied, that the content of this report is complete or accurate.

GAIN Capital Singapore Pte. Ltd. is not under any obligation to update this report.

Trading CFDs and FX on margin carries a high level of risk that may not be suitable for some investors. Consider your investment objectives, level of experience, financial resources, risk appetite and other relevant circumstances carefully. The possibility exists that you could lose some or all of your investments, including your initial deposits. If in doubt, please seek independent expert advice. Visit for the complete Risk Disclosure Statement.

Important Notice:

Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender currency and trading of derivatives on Cryptocurrencies are currently not covered under any regulatory regime in Singapore. Consequently, investors should be aware they do not have protection under the Securities and Futures Act (Cap. 289). Please ensure that you are fully aware of the risks.