September 3, 2018 / 1:30 AM / 3 months ago

FOREX-Dollar edges higher on escalating global trade tensions

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2018 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Daniel Leussink

TOKYO, Sept 3 (Reuters) - The dollar was steady on Monday on worries of a prolonged China-U.S. trade war and after the United States and Canada ended contentious trade negotiations without a deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday there was no need to keep Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement and warned Congress not to meddle with the trade talks or he would terminate the trilateral trade pact altogether.

Trump on Friday had notified Congress of his intent to sign a bilateral deal with Mexico after talks between Washington and Ottawa soured.

The dollar index against a basket of six currencies edged higher to 95.182 as of 0100 GMT on Monday, after rising during the past two sessions.

The U.S. currency tends to attract safe haven bids in times of market turmoil and political tensions.

Bart Wakabayashi, Tokyo branch manager at State Street Bank, said markets were tentative overall as trade tensions between the United States and China continued to provide “quite a major scene”.

“I think it’s not a revelation to say that we’re more concerned about the spillover of those discussions...That’s always going to be overhanging (in a) negative way on the markets,” Wakabayashi said.

Trump has told his aides he is ready to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of imports from China as soon as a public comment period on the plan ends on Thursday.

The pound shed about 0.3 percent to $1.2923 after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned he is strongly opposed to the U.K. government’s so-called Chequers proposals on future trade.

Sterling, which has come off from a four-week peak of $1.3043 hit on Thursday, dipped as low as $1.2892 before retracing some losses as optimism over Brexit faded.

The euro was down about 0.1 percent at $1.1595, extending its slide of the past two sessions.

The yen, which like the dollar is a perceived safe haven, advanced about 0.1 percent to 111.02 yen.

The Australian dollar was 0.1 percent lower at $0.7187 on trade worries, lingering near a low of $0.7177 reached on Friday, its weakest level since January 2017.

Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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