May 11, 2020 / 7:48 AM / 21 days ago

FOREX-Dollar edges up, yen falls as easing lockdowns boosts risk appetite

* Dollar lifts slightly; Japanese yen falls 0.5%

* Markets look for recovery from global pandemic

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) - The dollar edged up in early London trading on Monday while the Japanese yen weakened as risk appetite was boosted by more countries making moves to re-open their economies, despite the coronavirus continuing to spread.

Japan said on Monday it could end its state of emergency in many regions this week and New Zealand said it could ease restrictions on Thursday. The UK has also set out plans to ease the lockdown while in France shops re-opened on Monday.

The safe-haven Japanese yen hit a 10-day low versus the dollar, down more than 0.5% since New York’s close. Against a basket of comparable currencies, the dollar up around 0.1%.

“The ongoing improvement in global investor risk sentiment following acute financial market strains in March reflects in part building investor optimism that the global economy is past the worst point of the COVID-19 crisis,” Lee Hardman, currency analyst at MUFG, wrote in a note to clients.

A conciliatory phone call between U.S. and China trade negotiators on Friday also provided a boost to risk appetite, as it staved off fears of an imminent new round of U.S. tarrifs, even after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was “very torn” over whether or not to end the preliminary phase one trade deal between the two countries.

The euro was down slightly, having fallen in early London trading, last down around 0.1% versus the dollar at $1.0832 .

The riskier Australian dollar was up slightly, while the New Zealand dollar was down 0.2%, having fallen from around 0400 GMT.

The Norwegian crown hit new monthly highs versus the dollar at 0600 GMT, extending its decline from a late April lowpoint, last up around 0.3%.

Easing lockdowns is interpreted as positive by traders as it enables economic activity curtailed by the coronavirus to resume. Lifting the lockdowns too early, however, risks triggering another wave of the new coronavirus.

South Korea warned of a second wave of the virus as infections rebounded to a one-month high and new infections have accelerated in Germany.

The U.S. economy shed 20.5 million jobs in April, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, a government report on Friday showed. The true unemployment rate may be closer to 19.5%.

Swiss franc site deposit data due on Monday is expected to show another large rise, which would support the theory that the Swiss National Bank wants to prevent the euro-franc exchange rate from going below 1.05, ING analysts wrote in a note to clients.

The franc was last down around 0.1% versus the euro as demand for safe-havens eased, at 1.05295. (Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, editing by Ed Osmond)

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