June 27, 2018 / 7:25 PM / 4 months ago

Dollar gains as U.S. backs softer restrictions on China investment

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose broadly on Wednesday, including against the Swiss franc and Japanese yen, both traditional safe havens, as trade-related worries eased following a slight moderation in the U.S. administration’s approach to Chinese investment.

FILE PHOTO: Euro banknotes and coins are displayed in a shop in Brussels, Belgium November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Vidal/File Photo

The dollar was up 0.34 percent against the yen at 110.42 yen, and advanced 0.44 percent against the franc. The Japanese and Swiss units tend to benefit at the dollar’s expense in times of geopolitical and financial tensions.

“The yen was stronger prior to that modest softening in the stance there. After that news we saw a weakening in the yen,” said Eric Viloria, currency strategist at Wells Fargo Securities in New York.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he will use a strengthened security review process to deal with threats from Chinese investments to acquire U.S. technologies instead of imposing China-specific restrictions.

Investors’ risk appetite took a hit earlier this week following reports on Monday that the U.S. Treasury Department was drafting curbs that would block companies with at least 25 percent Chinese ownership from buying U.S. tech firms.

“Those reports of the U.S. administration seeking a less harsh approach towards China contributed to the yen’s movement today,” Viloria said.

The dollar index .DXY, which measures the greenback against a basket of six currencies, was up 0.37 percent at 95.013, on pace for its second day of gains.

Expectations that U.S. interest rates will rise just as the European Central Bank is pushing back its planned rate increases have been a key driver for a two-month rally in the dollar.

Despite the slight easing in trade tensions, the trade-sensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars remained under pressure. The kiwi was 0.8 percent lower against the greenback, while the Aussie slipped 0.05.

The offshore yuan fell to as low as 6.6195 CNH=D3, its weakest since mid-December, after the People's Bank of China lowered the currency's midpoint to its weakest in six months for a sixth straight day..

Traders expect Beijing would let the yuan weaken further to soften the impact of tariffs imposed by the United States.

“The global community is starting to notice and the conversation has shifted from ‘will they or won’t they’ to, ‘they are and what does it mean,’” Brad Bechtel, managing director at Jefferies in New York, said in a note to clients.

The euro was 0.39 percent lower at $1.16, under pressure from the trade conflict, the threat of a political crisis in Germany and uncertainty over a European Union summit.

Sterling weakened against the euro GBPEUR= and the dollar GBP= as imminent Brexit talks and doubts the Bank of England will raise interest rates this year darkened the outlook for the currency.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar and Euro notes are seen in this June 22, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration /File Photo

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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