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FOREX-Asia's currencies edge higher as China rebound gathers steam

    * Yuan, AUD and NZD advance as China recovery holds momentum
    * Dollar steady elsewhere as election risks temper bets
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020

    By Tom Westbrook
    SINGAPORE, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Asia's trade-exposed
currencies inched higher on Monday as China's rebound from the
COVID-19 pandemic stayed on course last quarter, even as caution
about the U.S. election outcome kept the U.S. dollar supported
against other majors.
    China's gross domestic product grew 4.9% in the September
quarter from a year earlier, slower than forecast but faster
than the third quarter and aided by strong gains in industrial
output and an acceleration in retail sales.
    The yuan and risk-sensitive Australian and New Zealand
dollars dipped from session highs after the GDP headline miss,
but stayed bought on views the consumption data was a harbinger
of better growth in the current quarter.
    The yuan was last steady in onshore trade at 6.6982
per dollar, after hitting a fresh 18-month peak of 6.6852 in
morning trade.
    The Aussie and kiwi both edged 0.1% higher,
trimming earlier gains as last week's dovish central bank
remarks remain a weight on the Antipodeans.
    "The (Chinese) GDP numbers came in slightly below
expectations, but the monthly data shows there is no reason to
be overly pessimistic," said Yoshiko Shimamine, chief economist
at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo.
    "China's economy remains on the recovery path, driven by a
rebound in exports. Consumer spending is also headed in the
right direction, but we cannot say it has completely shaken off
the drag caused by the coronavirus."
    Industrial output in September expanded 6.9% from a year
earlier, while retail sales grew 3.3%, both well ahead of
    The dollar was broadly stable elsewhere, with investor
worries about rising coronavirus cases, the looming U.S.
election and fading prospects of any fiscal stimulus beforehand
providing support.    
    The dollar index was following a 0.7% rise last week.
The euro held just above a two-week low at $1.1713.
    The yen was steady at 105.40 per dollar while the
pound also held its ground as investors clung to hopes
for a Brexit breakthrough.
    "The dollar can remain elevated this week," said
Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Kim Mundy. "A lack of
fiscal stimulus and rising coronavirus infections raise concerns
about the global economic outlook."
    Faint hopes that Democrats and the White House could agree
on a new spending programme was tempered by the opposition of
Senate Republicans and as investors focused on what the election
outcome means for stimulus later.
    A victory by Democrat Joe Biden was seen weakening the
dollar due to perception of bigger spending.    
    Fifteen days out from election day, Biden leads Trump by
about 10 points in national polls, and has a narrow lead in
several battleground states. The pair are due to face off in a
final debate on Thursday.
    "Markets will be attentive to any potential shift in polls,
although traditionally the last debate has less impact in public
opinion," Barclays analysts said in a note.
    "The main risk for markets now would be a tightening in
polls, which would reduce the likelihood of a large Democratic
fiscal stimulus package and could raise the likelihood of a long
contested election."
    Markets were mostly unmoved by the landslide victory of
Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party in New Zealand's general election,
with investors keeping a wary eye on protests in Thailand.

    The baht slipped 0.1% as its peers rose on Monday.

    Currency bid prices at 11:49AM (349 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.1707        $1.1718     -0.09%         +4.43%      +1.1730     +1.1707
 Dollar/Yen                   105.4100       105.3950    +0.01%         -2.95%      +105.4950   +105.3700
 Euro/Yen                     123.40         123.48      -0.06%         +1.19%      +123.6300   +123.4000
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.9156         0.9152      +0.05%         -5.37%      +0.9157     +0.9146
 Sterling/Dollar              1.2926         1.2920      +0.12%         -2.47%      +1.2944     +1.2888
 Dollar/Canadian              1.3186         1.3184      +0.01%         +1.49%      +1.3191     +1.3170
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7086         0.7078      +0.13%         +1.00%      +0.7108     +0.7073
 NZ                           0.6614         0.6605      +0.14%         -1.71%      +0.6629     +0.6605
 Dollar/Dollar All spots
Tokyo spots
Europe spots 
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ 

 (Editing by Sam Holmes and Jacqueline Wong)