Dollar buoyed by caution as trade deal optimism wanes




Dollar buoyed by caution as trade deal optimism wanes


By Tom Westbrook

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The dollar found broad support on Friday as fresh signs of a global economic slowdown and little visible progress toward a Sino-U.S. trade truce put investors in a risk-averse mood.

The latest evidence that the U.S.-China trade war has hurt the global economy was illustrated by sub-par growth figures on Thursday from China and Japan, followed by lacklustre updates in Britain and Europe.

Overnight media reports also suggested negotiations to end the damaging dispute had stalled.

The Financial Times, citing unidentified people close to the talks, said an agreement may not be reached in time to avoid a new round of U.S. tariffs taking effect on Dec. 15.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington late on Thursday that a deal was "getting close", but offered no new details and similarly failed to shift the sentiment.

"No news on trade negotiations is becoming bad news," said CMC Markets' Chief Strategist in Sydney, Michael McCarthy.

The dollar clawed back some of the ground it gave to the safe-haven yen overnight, rising 0.1% to buy 108.55 yen, and kept hold of overnight gains against the Australian and New Zealand dollars.

Against a basket of currencies (DXY), the dollar last traded at 98.163. The euro (EUR=) was stable at $1.1020. Moves were slight as investors looked for concrete news on the trade front.

"Once that risk event's cleared, it would be a positive development," said Jason Wong, senior market strategist at BNZ in Wellington. "But until we've got the word from Donald Trump, no-one's really willing to get in front of it."

The next scheduled economic updates are Eurozone trade and inflation data due at 1000 GMT and the New York Fed manufacturing survey due at 1330 GMT.

Trade news has been scarce. Earlier in the week, Trump offered bluster but no fresh details in a policy address in New York.

The British pound, meanwhile, sat near peaks scaled overnight.

Sterling touched a six-month high against the euro and gained on the dollar as expectations that Britain's ruling Conservative Party might win a majority in a Dec. 12 election fueled optimism that the Brexit impasse will finally end.

It stood at $1.2881 and at 0.8555 pence per euro in Asian trade. "Markets now appear to be priced for a high likelihood of a majority Conservative government," RBC Chief Currency Strategist Adam Cole said in a note.

The Australian dollar nurses losses inflicted by an unexpected rise in unemployment on Thursday to trade at $0.6786.

The kiwi was unmoved by Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Adrian Orr telling bankers in San Francisco that New Zealand was prepared to use unconventional policy tools.

The New Zealand dollar had jumped by a percentage point on Wednesday when the RBNZ unexpectedly left interest rates on hold.

China's yuan was steady at 7.0167 per dollar in offshore trade . Home price data is due (0130 GMT), a day after readings showed China's main growth engines all faltered more than expected in October.





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