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US dollar steadies vs yen as US yields come off lows, but capped by trade woes

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The dollar steadied against the yen on Wednesday, as US yields pulled back from lows hit on concerns about a worsening trade feud between Washington and Beijing, although persistent worries about the trade rift are likely to cap any greenback recovery.

[TOKYO] The dollar steadied against the yen on Wednesday, as US yields pulled back from lows hit on concerns about a worsening trade feud between Washington and Beijing, although persistent worries about the trade rift are likely to cap any greenback recovery.

The dollar was little changed at 110.08 yen following its retreat to an eight-day trough of 109.55 on Tuesday after US President Donald Trump threatened to slap more tariffs on China, prompting an angry response from Beijing. Escalating tensions triggered risk aversion and caused a sell-off in global equities.

The yen is often sought in times of political tension and market turmoil.

The dollar managed to bounce back against the yen as a degree of calm returned to broader markets and Wall Street shares pared a bulk of their losses, while safe-haven US Treasury yields climbed from three-week lows.

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Better-than-expected US housing data also nudged Treasury yields off their lows on Tuesday.

"The dollar has managed to stabilise versus the yen but its rise above 110.00 looks precarious as trade tensions linger in the background," said Shin Kadota, senior strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.

"The threat of a trade conflict is a theme that could eventually override tax cut-induced benefits the US economy is experiencing at the moment."

The euro was down 0.05 per cent at US$1.1584, shaky after slipping to a two-week low of US$1.1528 overnight after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi called for a patient approach to European monetary policy at a forum in Portugal.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies stood at 95.026 after advancing to an 11-month peak of 95.296 on Tuesday amid the risk aversion.

"Along with the Swiss franc and the yen, the dollar is also a safe haven currency, although perhaps less so than the yen," Kadota at Barclays said. "The dollar's safe-haven status, however, could come under question as it has also become a high-yielding currency."

The Australian dollar, considered sensitive to shifts in sentiment towards China, fell to a 13-month low of US$0.7347 on Tuesday before pulling back slightly to US$0.7386.

The Swiss franc was little changed at 0.9948 franc per dollar after gaining about 0.1 per  cent overnight.

The 10-year US Treasury note yielded 2.896 per cent after dropping to as low as 2.853 per cent on Tuesday.

REUTERS

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