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FOREX-Dollar clings to gains as traders wait for China growth data

    * NZD, AUD +0.2% as strong China GDP data anticipated
    * Dollar steady elsewhere as election risks temper bets
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

    By Tom Westbrook
    SINGAPORE, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The dollar clung to gains on
Monday, supported by investor worries about the looming U.S.
election and the fading prospects of any fiscal stimulus
beforehand, while the Chinese yuan held firm ahead of the
release of quarterly growth data.
    The dollar index was steady in early trade, following
a 0.7% rise last week when a global surge in coronavirus cases
and an impasse over the stimulus package stoked caution.
    The risk-sensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars edged 
higher on expectations that data due later on Monday shows
strong growth in China, and on faint hopes that Democrats and
the White House could agree on a new spending program.
    But enthusiasm was tempered by the opposition of Senate
Republicans and as investors focused on what the election
outcome means for stimulus later, with a Joe Biden victory seen
weakening the dollar by boosting sentiment with big spending.
    The Antipodean currencies rose about 0.2% each, with no real
reaction from the kiwi to the landslide election victory of
Jacinda Ardern's Labour party over the weekend. The euro, yen
and sterling were all steady in morning trade in Asia.
    "Fiscal remains the buzzword," said Chris Weston, head of
research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone.
    "But forget the Republicans' move to pass a $500 billion
bill, it will not see the light of day, and expectations of a
new stimulus bill have been pushed into 2021."
    He said a Biden administration with control of the Senate
could pass a stimulus program as large as $3.5 trillion.
    Something closer to $1 trillion was probable if Biden won
the presidency but the Democrats failed to win the Senate,
Weston said, while a Donald Trump victory and a split Congress
could limit spending to between $500 billion and $1 trillion.
    Fifteen days out from election day, Biden leads Trump by
about ten 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."
    The main focus of traders in Asia on Monday is Chinese
growth and economic data due at 0200 GMT.
    The yuan has largely shrugged off hints last week
from Chinese policymakers that its recent rise has been too fast
and too large, returning to sit near an 18-month high of 6.6788
in anticipation of strong GDP growth and capital inflows.
    The yuan last sat at 6.6930 in offshore trade.
    Investors globally are pinning hopes on a robust recovery in
China to help restart demand as economies struggle with heavy
lockdowns and a second wave of coronavirus infections.
    The world's second-largest economy likely grew 5.2% in
July-September from a year earlier, faster than the second
quarter's 3.2%, according to a Reuters poll.
    
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 2353 GMT
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.1715        $1.1718     -0.02%         +4.50%      +1.1730     +1.1712
 Dollar/Yen                   105.4300       105.3950    +0.00%         -2.97%      +105.4600   +0.0000
 Euro/Yen                     123.52         123.48      +0.03%         +1.29%      +123.5500   +123.4100
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.9150         0.9152      +0.00%         -5.43%      +0.9152     +0.0000
 Sterling/Dollar              1.2925         1.2920      +0.05%         -2.53%      +1.2927     +1.2888
 Dollar/Canadian              1.3179         1.3184      +0.01%         +1.49%      +1.3191     +1.3181
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7093         0.7078      +0.22%         +1.09%      +0.7095     +0.7073
 NZ                           0.6616         0.6605      +0.18%         -1.66%      +0.6618     +0.6605
 Dollar/Dollar All spots
Tokyo spots
Europe spots 
Volatilities 
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ 

 (Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Sam Holmes)
  
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