Higher than expected US GDP growth helped turn a European share rout into a US rally overnight. However a weaker inflation component to the national accounts spurred bonds higher. Industrial commodities fell further, and gold held higher ground, in clear signs of concern. Cautious Asia Pacific trading is possible ahead of key event risk over the weekend.

Britain departs the European Union at 11 pm London time tonight. The move towards Brexit slammed the pound, and weighed on UK stocks. Over the same period the Euro and major continental indices outperformed. Traders are alert for indications that this long period of underperformance by the UK will end as Brexit becomes fact, and could use EUR/GBP to express their views.

On Saturday the US Senate will vote on the structure of the President’s impeachment trial. An important component is whether to call an extensive list of witnesses. Republicans are opposed, and seeking a speedy resolution to the process. A vote in line with the Republican majority in the Senate is widely expected.

The potential wildcard came from former national security adviser John Bolton, a direct witness to the phone call at the centre of the allegations. An as yet unpublished account is a potential problem for Republican senators, if its later release suggests crucial testimony was excluded. If just 4 Republican senators vote with the Democrats the trial proceedings will take longer, and may become messier. A negative market reaction on Monday would likely follow.

The third gap risk is the re-opening of Mainland China exchanges on Monday after an extended Lunar New Year break. The reaction of investors in China to the coronavirus could influence market perceptions around the globe.

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