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Yuan extends gains to 16-month high as China data boosts risk appetite

Kitco News

LONDON (Reuters) - Risky currencies gained on Tuesday, with the yuan strengthening to a 16-month high after Chinese data pointed to an economic recovery and the Australian and New Zealand dollars climbing, while the dollar fell.

China’s industrial output accelerated and retail sales grew for the first time this year, beating analysts’ forecasts, data overnight showed.

The yuan surged in both offshore and onshore trading. The offshore yuan carried on strengthening throughout the European session, hitting new 16-month highs of 6.7685 versus the U.S. dollar at 1100 GMT CNH=EBS.

The Australian dollar rose after minutes of its central bank meeting showed no signs of a further cut to record-low interest rates. At 1111 GMT, it was at 0.73355, up 0.6% on the day AUD=D3.

The New Zealand dollar was up 0.4% versus the U.S. dollar NZD=D3, while the Canadian dollar rose around 0.2% CAD=D3.

“It’s a proper risk-on day today,” said Kit Juckes, head of FX strategy at Societe Generale. “China is an economic winner at this point in the pandemic.”

“There’s a sense that the virus is less of a threat in China now, and also perhaps more widely the market is looking for a more V-shaped global economic recovery.”

The Swedish crown was up around 0.2% at 8.7425 SEK=D3 while the Norwegian crown fell around 0.1% NOK=D3, taking a hit as oil prices extended their fall.

The U.S. dollar slipped, although it recovered some of its overnight losses in early London trade, leaving the dollar index =USD 0.3% lower on the day at 92.801.

U.S. industrial production data is due at 1315 GMT, while the market is looking ahead to the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting starting on Wednesday.

“Another good August industrial production figure out of the U.S. today should maintain the positive mood going into tomorrow’s FOMC meeting,” ING strategists wrote in a note, adding the dollar index could still drift down to 92.50.

The euro was up 0.3% versus the dollar at $1.1895 EUR=EBS. Investor sentiment in Germany rose in September, despite headwinds from Brexit and rising coronavirus infections, the ZEW economic sentiment survey showed.

The pound rose after better-than-expected jobs data.

The positive sentiment in currency markets was also attributed to hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine. British drugmaker AstraZeneca restarted its vaccine trial in Britain on Saturday though it remains on hold in the United States.

Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Jan Harvey

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