FOREX-US dollar strengthens as traders see resilient US economy

LONDON (Reuters) – A stronger U.S. dollar dragged down the euro and the pound to their lowest levels in months as investors expected the U.S. economy to remain resilient to the spread of the coronavirus across the world, with payroll data from last week reinforcing traders’ optimism. Market participants were more positive about riskier currencies amid hints that the spread of the coronavirus could be slowing down and as some big businesses resumed work in China after the Lunar New Year break. The Australian dollar rose 0.3% to 0.6689 per U.S. dollar, pulling away from a decade-low touched earlier in the session. It has lost 4.5% this year. The Chinese yuan also rose 0.3% to 6.9893 per U.S. dollar. The U.S. dollar, however, was stronger against other major currencies. It pushed the euro to match a four-month low of $1.0942 and dragged the pound down to a 2-1/2-month low of $1.2873. Versus the euro, the pound was flat at 85.03 pence. “The relative attractiveness of the U.S. dollar has been boosted in the near-term by building concerns over the outlook for growth outside of the U.S., the rising probability of President (Donald) Trump winning a second term and further evidence of the ongoing resilience of the U..S economy,” said Lee Hardman, currency analyst at MUFG. “However, the Fed’s reluctance to tighten policy should help to dampen upside potential for U.S. yields and the U.S. dollar,” Hardman said. The safe-haven yen was trading neutral at 109.75 yen per dollar, while bonds dipped and stock markets pared some early losses with the broad appetite for risk. [MKTS/GLOB] “We’ve seen positive headlines about a few large companies all reporting that they were going to be resuming and reopening facilities in China,” said Richard Franulovich, head of FX strategy at Westpac in Sydney. Taiwan’s Foxconn, a major contractor in global technology production, received approval to resume production at a plant in China’s north, one person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Carmaker Tesla’s Shanghai factory was due resume production on Monday, a government official said last week, adding that authorities will provide assistance to the firm.

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