March 8, 2016 / 12:03 PM / 4 years ago

FOREX-Yen and Swiss franc advance as Chinese data weighs on risk appetite

(Updates prices, adds reaction to Carney)

* Disappointing China trade data heightens global demand concerns

* ECB seen likely to ease, but investors ponder extent

* BoE’s Carney says Brexit will hurt economy

By Anirban Nag

LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - The safe-haven yen and Swiss franc rose on Tuesday as downbeat Chinese trade data fuelled concerns about the state of global demand, weighing on appetite for riskier assets and currencies.

China’s February exports slumped 25.4 percent from a year earlier while imports dropped 13.8 percent.

The dollar fell 0.4 percent to 112.95 yen, after earlier hitting a one-week low of 112.75 yen. The Swiss franc was up 0.15 percent against both the dollar and the euro .

Both currencies tend to outperform during times of financial market volatility and economic uncertainty as investors in both regions unwind investments abroad and bring their savings home.

“The disappointing data from China is weighing on risk sentiment and pushing the dollar lower against the yen,” said Yujiro Goto, currency strategist at Nomura.

The euro was pegged back, giving up earlier gains against the dollar, and falling 0.5 percent against the yen. The outlook for the single currency was considerably clouded by Thursday’s policy review by the European Central Bank (ECB).

The ECB is expected to ease policy, but investors are uncertain about how far it will go. Euro bears are cautious about positioning for bold action, having been badly burnt before when the ECB disappointed by choosing to take more modest easing steps.

Sterling fell 0.4 percent against the dollar to $1.4210 with Bank of England Governor Carney warning that a potential exit by Britain from the European Union would hurt the economy and prompt some banks to leave London.

ING analyst Viraj Patel recommended investors to sell the pound against the dollar.

“We think a correction back to $1.4050 is on the cards should the Brexit risk premium resurface over the coming days,” he said.

The Australian and Canadian dollars pulled away from multi-month highs touched on a rally in commodity prices. Commodity prices, including oil, were subdued on Tuesday.

The Aussie fell 0.4 percent to $0.7444 after reaching a high not seen since July of $0.7486 on Monday. The Canadian dollar climbed as far as C$1.3262 per USD, scaling a peak last seen in November, but the greenback was last up, 0.5 percent at C$1.3337. (Additional reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Ed Osmond)

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