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Dollar slips versus yen, Swiss franc as Chinese data hurts risk appetite

Kitco News

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar slipped against the safe-haven yen and Swiss franc on Monday as weak Chinese export data dented risk appetite and highlighted the economic damage from the 17-month-long trade war, while the pound rose on the latest polls ahead of this week’s British election.

China’s exports in November shrank for the fourth consecutive month, underscoring persistent pressures on manufacturers from the Sino-U.S. trade war.

Against the Japanese yen, which tends to benefit during geopolitical or financial stress as Japan is the world’s biggest creditor nation, the dollar was 0.06% lower at 108.53 yen. The greenback was down 0.1% against the Swiss franc.

A Dec. 15 deadline for the next wave of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods fed caution in global markets, supporting the U.S. dollar against currencies highly sensitive to the trade war such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars.

The Aussie fell 0.12%, while the kiwi slipped 0.03%.

Against the offshore Chinese yuan, the dollar was up 0.18%.

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday that the Dec. 15 deadline is still in place to impose a new round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese consumer goods, but President Donald Trump likes where trade talks with China are going.

On Monday, China said that it hoped to make a trade deal with the United States as soon as possible.

Investors will also be watching central banks ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank policy meetings this week, even though both are expected to leave policy unchanged.

“Unusually, perhaps, the main event risks are not the central bank meetings due this week or key speaking engagements,” Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto, said in a note.

“Rather, the UK general election and the potential ramping up of U.S. tariffs over next weekend are likely to influence market sentiment more significantly than anything else,” Osborne said.

Sterling hit a seven-month high of $1.3180 against the dollar before paring gains to trade up 0.05% at $1.3143 after fresh polls showed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has extended its lead in opinion polls before Thursday’s election.

The ruling Conservative Party extended its lead over the opposition Labour Party to 14 percentage points, up from 9 a week ago, an opinion poll by Survation showed on Monday.

Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Alexander Smith, Hugh Lawson and Dan Grebler

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