Dollar slips ahead of Trump-Xi meeting

REUTERS
LONDON
Published 06.04.2017 00:55

The dollar came under pressure yesterday after North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea ahead of a summit between U.S. and Chinese leaders, losing its grip on gains made earlier against the yen.

The missile firing -- a day before talks on economic and security issues between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping -- further diminished investor risk appetite in a week that has seen a flight to safety.

Trump's consistently harsh rhetoric on China has raised concerns about the summit and weighed on the dollar, as has speculation that the U.S. president will face challenges implementing his promised growth-boosting policies after his administration failed to pass healthcare reform.

The dollar edged down 0.1 percent to 110.63 yen, off a day's high of 110.92 and well below last Friday's 10-day peak of 112.19 yen.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a trade-weighted basket of six peers, was slightly down on the day at 100.48, as slumping U.S. Treasury yields also gave investors little incentive to buy the greenback.

"It's a bit of a mixed picture. Some downside risk (for the dollar) on the upcoming meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Trump ... but to be honest, so far it's been the case that his (Trump's) rhetoric is a lot worse than his policy actions," said Lee Hardman, currency strategist at MUFG in London.

Though the perceived safe-haven Japanese currency tends to gain in times of geopolitical tension or risk aversion, the dollar got some help from Japanese importers on a "gotobi" date -- the fifth day of the month and dates that are multiple of five -- on which accounts are usually settled.

The U.S. non-farm payrolls report out on Friday will be watched keenly by investors. Economists polled by Reuters predict the U.S. economy will have added 180,000 jobs in March.

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