December 18, 2019 / 8:52 AM / a month ago

FOREX-Dollar firms versus major currencies ahead of Trump impeachment vote, German Ifo survey

* Euro, pound fall versus dollar

* Chinese yuan below 7 vs dollar as US, China trade optimism wanes

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Olga Cotaga

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar strengthened across the board on Wednesday, rising against a battered euro ahead of the German Ifo business survey, and versus a pound that has lost all of its election gains on fears Britain could leave the EU without a trade deal.

Solid U.S. economic data suggested to investors that the Federal Reserve might need to be more strongly persuaded of the case for meaningful interest rate cuts. Industrial production has rebounded strongly in November, mainly due to the ending of the General Motors auto workers strike.

Money markets are not pricing in a rate cut anytime soon.

“It is a slightly more generalised firmer U.S. dollar. I don’t think this is news or fundamentally driven flows,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank.

The U.S. House of Representatives is due to vote on whether to impeach President Donald Trump later in the day, with the Senate expected to vote in January, though analysts note that the support for impeachment has declined slightly.

A dollar index which tracks the greenback against six major currencies jumped to a six-day high of 97.343 and was last up 0.1% at 97.302.

The euro fell 0.2% to $1.1132.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Tuesday that the United States may increase tariffs on European goods as it seeks to slash its chronic trade deficit with the continent, reigniting worries of the prospects of the export-driven euro.

Traders will be watching for the German Ifo business survey, due at 0900 GMT. Current conditions are expected to have strengthened slightly, and so are the expectations, economists polled by Reuters forecast.

The British currency was down by 0.3% at $1.3099 after falling to $1.3074, its weakest since the general election on Thursday gave the pro-Brexit ruling Conservative Party a decisive majority in parliament.

The pound extended its slide on rekindled fears of a chaotic exit from the European Union. Having campaigned to “get Brexit done,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government on Tuesday set the end of 2020 as an immovable deadline.

The dollar remained comfortable above 7 versus the Chinese yuan, with the yuan last trading flat at 7.0016 in the offshore market, as the United States and China are finalising a “phase one” trade deal, though worries remain over their future relationship.

“The enthusiasm to the phase one trade deal announced last week appears to be fading,” said Charlie Lay, an analyst at Commerzbank, adding that “the market’s ambivalence is understandable given that there are few details.”

Elsewhere, the New Zealand dollar and the Swedish crown fell to a one-week low of 0.6555 against the dollar and of 10.4960 against the euro respectively. (Reporting by Olga Cotaga; Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Sydney; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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