Forex Today: Markets cheerful after robust Chinese data, Bitcoin nears $9,000, US data eyed

Here is what you need to know on Friday, January 17:

The market mood is positive after upbeat Chinese data. USD/JPY hit a new eight-month high above 110 and commodity currencies are bid as well and the pound has also been able to recover.

The Chinese economy grew by 6% annualized in the fourth quarter of 2019, as expected. More encouragingly, industrial output increased by 6.9% yearly, beating projections. Retail sales and fixed investment also exceeded forecasts. Alongside the Sino-American trade deal, the prospects for the world's second-largest economy have improved.

The US consumer remains in the spotlight as the University of Michigan releases its preliminary Consumer Sentiment Index for January which is expected to remain upbeat. Retail Sales for December marginally surpassed expectations with the Control Group rising by 0.5%. The consumer is driving the economy forward. 

See US Michigan Consumer Sentiment Preview: No change is good

UK Retail Sales are set to show a rebound in December after falling in November. The data, which includes late Black Friday sales, is closely watched by the Bank of England, which is contemplating a rate cut later this month. 

EUR/USD has been unable to hold onto its gains despite cautious optimism from the European Central Bank. The bank's minutes mentioned indications of rising core inflation and were also somewhat positive on growth. 

US-EU trade: Phil Hogan, the European Commission's trade chief, said that President Donald Trump is obsessed with the trade deficits and criticized the Sino-American trade deal, which may violate international trade accords. The EU is trying to fight off a US threat to slap tariffs on France, following its digital tax. The potential of worsening trans-Atlantic trade relations is somewhat weighing on the euro. 

Cryptocurrencies have resumed their rises with Bitcoin edging closer to $9,000, Ethereum topping $170, and other digital coins also on the rise. 

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