January 31, 2020 / 8:26 PM / a month ago

FOREX-Safe-haven yen, Swiss franc advance as virus fears snowball

    * Offshore yuan stabilizes after breaching 7 per dollar
    * Aussie, Kiwi extend losses to new multi-month lows
    * Death toll from virus rises to 213, all in China
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

 (Adds new comment, updates prices)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The safe-haven yen and Swiss franc jumped to multiweek highs on Friday as
worries about the global economic impact of the latest coronavirus outbreak in China intensified.
    The yen rose to a three-week high against the dollar, while the Swiss franc climbed to a two-week
peak.
    The Australian dollar fell to a four-month low against the U.S. dollar, while China's offshore yuan
struggled to find a footing in the wake of the virus outbreak. 
    The World Health Organization said late Thursday that the coronavirus outbreak was a global emergency,
prompting the United States and other countries to tighten travel curbs on Friday.
    All three major U.S. airlines -- United Airlines Holdings Inc, Delta Air Lines Inc,
and American Airlines Group Inc -- announced the cancellation of flights to mainland China on
Friday after the U.S. State Department elevated a travel advisory over concerns about the coronavirus.

    "When we take a look at the overall picture heading into the week, there was some optimism that we
could still see strong earnings. There's anticipation that eventually we're going to see a trickle-down
effect of the Phase 1 trade deal with China," said Edward Moya, senior market strategist at OANDA in New
York.
    "Right now, none of that matters. It's all about the virus and its impact on the Chinese economy and
its trading partners," he added.
    U.S. data on consumer spending and personal income did push the dollar a little higher against the yen
and euro earlier, as core consumer prices as measured by the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price
index rose 0.2% last month after advancing just 0.1% the previous four months.
    But the U.S. data's impact was short-lived.
    Investors remained transfixed on the casualties from the virus and feared its impact on the global
economy, including businesses such as airlines and hotels. 
    The death toll rose to 213 on Friday, all in China. The number of confirmed cases in China has risen
beyond 9,800, Beijing's envoy to the United Nations in Vienna said, while some 131 cases have been
reported in 23 other countries and regions.
    China's offshore yuan gave up earlier gains and was last down against the dollar. The U.S. currency
added 0.1% to 6.9884, although that was some way off the 7.0038 level the yuan dropped to on
Thursday.
    The dollar fell 0.5% against the yen to 108.35 yen in afternoon trading, after earlier dropping
to a three-week low of 108.33 yen. The greenback also slid to a two-week trough versus the Swiss franc and
was last at 0.9637 franc.
    The Australian and New Zealand dollars, both sensitive to sentiment in China, fell to new multimonth
lows.
    The New Zealand dollar dropped 0.5% to US$0.6463, after earlier touching a two-month low. The
Australian dollar lost 0.4% to US$0.6695, hitting a four-month low earlier.
    
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 3:17 PM (2017 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar      EUR=        $1.1088        $1.1030     +0.53%         -1.09%      +1.1090     +1.1018
 Dollar/Yen       JPY=        108.3500       108.9500    -0.55%         -0.47%      +109.1300   +108.3300
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     120.15         120.19      -0.03%         -1.48%      +120.3900   +120.0400
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9632         0.9693      -0.63%         -0.48%      +0.9713     +0.9631
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.3200         1.3094      +0.81%         -0.45%      +1.3204     +1.3085
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.3234         1.3208      +0.20%         +1.91%      +1.3252     +1.3195
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.6693         0.6719      -0.39%         -4.67%      +0.6729     +0.6684
 ar                                                                                             
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.0681         1.0695      -0.13%         -1.58%      +1.0706     +1.0677
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.8400         0.8424      -0.28%         -0.64%      +0.8434     +0.8388
 NZ               NZD=        0.6464         0.6485      -0.32%         -4.04%      +0.6494     +0.6455
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                  
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        9.1951         9.1791      +0.17%         +4.75%      +9.2453     +9.1665
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     10.1978        10.1273     +0.70%         +3.66%      +10.2192    +10.1124
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        9.6251         9.6352      +0.44%         +2.97%      +9.6836     +9.6163
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     10.6755        10.6291     +0.44%         +1.97%      +10.6901    +10.6225
 
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes in London; Editing by
Jonathan Oatis)
  
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