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Yuan strengthens, euro nears 4-week highs


THE Chinese yuan rebounded and the euro rose to its highest since June 14 on Monday as investors bought riskier assets following favourable US jobs data last week and evidence that global trade tension has not yet slowed economic momentum.

Investors appear to be ignoring the worsening trade conflict between the United States and China, preferring to focus on decent economic numbers. Data showing a healthy rise in German exports has also helped.

Elsewhere, the big story was sterling's strength even though the British Brexit minister quit in reaction to Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for leaving the European Union. The pound rose half a per cent as traders focused on the increased likelihood of a "soft Brexit" in which the UK and EU retain close trade ties.

"Broad risk appetite in the market is firm because of the Chinese currency's strong gains which is also lifting the Aussie and keeping the dollar weak," said Manuel Oliveri, a strategist at Credit Agricole, London.

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The yuan rose more than half a per cent in offshore markets to 6.6200 against the US dollar, putting it on course for its biggest one-day rise in more than three months and further away from June's lows - its biggest ever monthly decline.

The Chinese currency gained last week after a stronger-than-expected midpoint fixing and data showing China's foreign exchange reserves rose in June.

Equities in Asia and Europe also gained, pulling up higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar.

The euro rose as much as 0.3 per cent to US$1.1781, the strongest since June 14 as the dollar dropped. The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies fell 0.2 per cent to 93.859.

The dollar lost nearly half a per cent on Friday, reaching 93.921, its lowest since June 14, after US wages indicators disappointed dollar bulls while boosting risk appetite.

Friday's data showed average US hourly earnings gained five cents, or 0.2 per cent in June after rising 0.3 per cent in May. This suggested moderate inflation pressures, creating doubt that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates a total of four times in 2018.

Against the yen, the dollar was little changed at 110.47 yen after losing 0.2 per cent on Friday.

The Australian dollar, a proxy for a China-related slowdown because of Chinese demand for its exports, rose as much as 0.7 per cent to US$0.7482. REUTERS

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