November 25, 2019 / 1:28 AM / 19 days ago

Trade optimism lifts dollar to one-week high vs yen, pound rises

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Positive news on the China-U.S. trade front helped boost risk sentiment on Monday, lifting the U.S. dollar to a one-week high against the safe-haven yen, while the British pound rose as UK election polls over the weekend continued to show a sizeable lead for the Conservative party.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar notes are seen in this November 7, 2016 picture illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

China and the United States are very close to a “phase one” trade deal, the Global Times, a tabloid run by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said on Monday, discounting “negative” media reports.

Against the yen, which tends to strengthen in times of geopolitical or financial stress due to Japan’s standing as the world’s biggest creditor, the dollar was 0.29% higher at 108.95 yen, a 1-week high.

Also helping risk sentiment was news over the weekend that China was seeking to substantially raise the upper limits for intellectual property violation fines.

“The Chinese government pledging to increase penalties on intellectual property rights violations and lower criminal punishment thresholds for IP thefts will potentially help in U.S.-China trade talks,” Morgan Stanley strategists said in a note on Monday.

Optimism about a trade deal also reduced demand for safe-haven bonds.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been here so many times before I’m struggling to get particularly excited,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.

Despite the weakness on Monday, the safe-haven yen was likely to remain in demand, Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto, said in a note.

“Constructive market sentiment is based on fragile foundations; it would appear and we expect the JPY, for example, to remain well-supported on dips while trade tensions simmer,” Osborne said.

The dollar index .DXY, which compares the greenback against six major currencies, was up 0.03% at 98.298.

Investors view the United States as relatively well-positioned to weather a full-blown trade war should there be one.

Speculators raised net long bets on the dollar to a five-week high in the week to Nov. 19, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.

Sterling climbed from recent lows as polls continued to show the ruling Conservatives as runaway favorites to win the Dec. 12 election with a pledge to implement Brexit and halt 3-1/2 years of political uncertainty.

The pound was 0.58% higher against the U.S. dollar.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sonya Hepinstall

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