Forex Today: Vaccine optimism fades as covid cases rise, Bitcoin tops $18,000, Brexit eyed

Here is what you need to know on Wednesday, November 18:

Markets are edging lower and the safe-haven yen is in demand as the increase in coronavirus cases outweighs vaccine optimism again. Central bankers also expressed caution. Bitcoin surges above $18,000 while optimism about Brexit is keeping the pound bid. 

COVID-19 figures continue rising all over the world. US hospitalizations hit a new record above 76,000, Germany reported 305 deaths, the highest since April, and infections have hit the two million mark in France. Cases are rising in Japan and Southern Australia imposed restrictions following an increase there. 

Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, said that the recent vaccine news is "not a game-changer" – at least not in the short term. The ECB needs to be aware of the full situation. Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, welcomed the immunization developments, yet also expressed caution on the current situation.

Vaccine: Pfizer has announced it has passed a key safety milestone on the course to apply for emergency use authorization of its immunization candidate. 

Bitcoin briefly topped $18,000, the highest since late 2017, before the cryptocurrency dropped back down. BTC/USD is on an upward trajectory as the pandemic causes investors to explore new assets. 

Brexit: The Telegraph reported that France may have compromised on the sensitive topic of fisheries, opening the door to striking a Brexit deal next week. GBP/USD is holding onto the high ground around 1.3250.

GBP/USD Forecast: Three reasons to expect a sustained Santa rally for sterling

US Retail Sales disappointed with a modest increase in October. Raphael Bostic, President of the Atlanta branch of the Federal Reserve, said that some people may be running out of money. 

US Retail Sales expansion slows in October, GDP estimate improves

US Building Permits and Housing Starts stand are eyed on Wednesday, alongside a speech by the Federal Reserve's John Williams. 

US elections fallout: President Donald Trump fired a top cybersecurity adviser who said that the elections were secure, in his attempt to overturn the results. In the meantime, the certification process continues and President-elect Joe Biden continues announcing appointments to his incoming administration. 

Final eurozone inflation figures are set to confirm a drop of 0.3% in the headline Consumer Price Index of 0.3% in October. Canada's CPI figures are set to show modest increases. 

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