September 17, 2018 / 8:03 AM / 3 months ago

FOREX-Dollar holds gains as trade war concern mounts

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

By Saikat Chatterjee

LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The dollar maintained its gains on Monday as investors waited for the next salvo in the trade war between the United States and China.

U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to announce new tariffs on about $200 billion of Chinese imports as early as Monday, a senior official told Reuters. The tariffs will probably be about 10 percent, less than the 25 percent the administration had considered. The news pushed the dollar index up nearly half a percent on Friday to 95, its biggest daily rise since Aug. 23. It was trading around that level on Monday.

The dollar has benefited from safe-haven flows as the trade conflict worsened. Strong U.S. data also helped, but some market watchers believe those flows may be ending after tepid U.S. inflation data last week.

Positioning is starting to reflect that. Speculators began unwinding some of their short bets against the euro and sterling last week. Encouraging developments in Brexit negotiations helped as well.

Net long position fell to $19.2 billion, the lowest since mid-July, according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data released on Friday .

The dollar traded higher against the yuan despite a lower daily fix by the Chinese central bank. The dollar was last at 6.87 from Friday’s close of 6.86.

The euro was last at $1.1635, down from a three-week top of $1.1721 set on Friday. The pound also retreated, falling from last week’s peak of $1.3145 to $1.3080.

The first of three Brexit summits are set for the coming week. European Union leaders hope to reach an agreement within the next two months over the terms of Britain’s departure . (Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Additional reporting by Swati Pandey in SYDNEY Editing by Larry King)

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