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FOREX-Dollar falls against the yen on political uncertainties

    * Dollar index up 0.09% , dollar-yen below key 105 level
    * Kiwi dollar gains after positive economic comments
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

 (Updates prices, adds comment, changes byline, previous
dateline LONDON)
    By Sinéad Carew
    NEW YORK, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The dollar was on track for
its fifth straight day of declines against the yen, which was at
a seven-week high against the greenback on Friday as investors
sought Japan's safe-haven currency due to monetary policy, U.S.
election uncertainty and the latest U.S.-China political
tensions.
    The dollar, after falling to 104.270 yen earlier in the
session - its lowest level against Japan's currency since July
31 - last traded at 104.38, down 0.33% on the day.
While the dollar was up against a basket of currencies it
was on track for a weekly decline after two weeks of gains. 
    Aside from political uncertainty Boris Schlossberg, managing
director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management said Japan's
policy of yield curve control was also a factor as it was
pushing up real interest rates.
    "Japanese market conditions are much tighter than they
seemingly appear despite QE from the Bank of Japan," said
Schlossberg. "That's creating a distinct and significant tilt
toward the yen." 
    While U.S. equities have kept close to their record highs,
Schlossberg said dollar weakness may signal more volatility to
come ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. elections where President Donald
Trump with face-off with Democrat challenger Joe Biden.   
    "Markets always hate uncertainty. At this point everybody is
convinced that an unambiguous win is not the most likely
scenario," he said. 
    Schlossberg also pointed to a Trump administration plan to
ban WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok from U.S. app stores
starting Sunday night, blocking Americans from the Chinese-owned
platforms over national security concerns.
    "It's showing the diplomatic tug of war is not being
resolved. The tensions are heightening rather than easing," he
said. "That's not something the market likes to see." 
    At its meeting, the Bank of Japan maintained its minus 0.1%
short-term interest rate target and a pledge to cap 10-year bond
yields around zero, as widely expected.
    Tokyo markets will be closed on Monday and Tuesday next
week, so investors positioning for thin liquidity could also
have played a role in Friday's yen move.
    The New Zealand dollar strengthened overnight and
hit its highest in a year and a half in early London trading,
after the country's finance minister sounded positive about the
economy in television interviews. The Reserve Bank of New
Zealand meets next week.
    The Australian dollar was down slightly versus the U.S.
dollar, at $0.7298. The euro fell slightly, to $1.1833,
and was set for a small weekly loss.
    While strong British consumer spending helped sterling
earlier in the day as investors bet on a solid recovery from
COVID-19 induced lockdowns but it failed to hold its gains and
was last down 0.25% against at $1.2940.
    "The market would be a lot more excited about this news if
it felt the UK was well on its way toward recovery. But now with
a huge resurgence in infections, there's a serious threat of a
secondary lockdown which could bring this recovery to a grinding
halt," said BK's Schlossberg.
     The currency fell sharply on Thursday when the Bank of
England said monetary policymakers had been briefed on how to
implement negative rates, but recovered later in the session.

    
    
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 10:10AM (1410 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar      EUR=        $1.1833        $1.1847     -0.12%         +5.56%      +1.1869     +1.1828
 Dollar/Yen       JPY=        104.3800       104.7300    -0.33%         -4.12%      +104.8600   +104.2800
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     123.53         124.09      -0.45%         +1.30%      +124.3000   +123.4400
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9106         0.9083      +0.25%         -5.91%      +0.9112     +0.9076
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.2940         1.2972      -0.25%         -2.42%      +1.2999     +1.2933
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.3180         1.3164      +0.12%         +1.49%      +1.3201     +1.3137
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.7298         0.7312      -0.19%         +3.95%      +0.7333     +0.7284
 ar                                                                                             
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.0778         1.0760      +0.17%         -0.68%      +1.0780     +1.0758
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.9144         0.9130      +0.15%         +8.16%      +0.9152     +0.9116
 NZ               NZD=        0.6770         0.6754      +0.24%         +0.50%      +0.6797     +0.6748
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                  
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        9.0753         9.0478      +0.30%         +3.38%      +9.0947     +9.0170
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     10.7410        10.7210     +0.19%         +9.18%      +10.7623    +10.6937
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        8.7799         8.7648      -0.05%         -6.07%      +8.7934     +8.7600
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     10.3914        10.3963     -0.05%         -0.74%      +10.4143    +10.3882
 
 (Additional reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by
Marguerita ChoyEditing and Steve Orlofsky)
  
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