FOREX-Dollar inches higher on concerns of contested U.S. election

    * Debate confirms uncertain election outlook, boosts dollar
    * U.S. private employment rises in September
    * U.S. GDP final estimate shows steep contraction
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020

 (Adds new comments, FX table, U.S. data, updates prices)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The dollar edged higher on
Wednesday after a two-day fall, as Tuesday's highly contentious
debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic
challenger Joe Biden reinforced concerns about a possible
contested outcome of the upcoming presidential election.
    The dollar index rose above the 94 mark against a
basket of currencies after two days of losses that followed the
U.S. currency reaching a two-month high last week.
    Trump and Biden battled fiercely over Trump's record on the
coronavirus pandemic, healthcare and the economy in a chaotic
and bad-tempered first debate marked by personal insults and
Trump's repeated interruptions.
    "The debate just confirmed that the election would be 
pretty much contested, if it's anywhere close," attracting
safe-haven bids for the dollar, said Edward Moya, senior market
analyst at OANDA in New York. 
    "People are going to wonder how long would it be until we
get the final result."
    The greenback was also boosted by quarter-end and month-end
portfolio rebalancing, analysts said. Demand for dollars tends
to rise at the end of quarters as portfolio rebalancing and fund
transfers require currencies like the euro and sterling to be
converted to dollars.
    U.S. economic data was also for the most part
    U.S. private employers stepped up hiring in September, with
private payrolls increasing by 749,000 jobs this month, the ADP
National Employment Report showed on Wednesday. Data for August
was revised up to show 481,000 jobs added instead of the
initially reported 428,000.
    "Overall, employment growth appears to be slowing gradually,
but remains more than strong enough to keep the unemployment
rate on a downward trend," said Andrew Hunter, senior U.S.
economist at Capital Economics.
    "That said, with employment still more than 10 million below
its pre-pandemic level, a full labor market recovery remains a
long way off."
    Gross domestic product, however, plunged at a 31.4%
annualized rate in the second quarter, the deepest drop in
output since the government started keeping records in 1947, the
Commerce Department said in its third estimate of GDP.

    The euro was down 0.3% against the dollar at
    Overall the dollar was set for its worst quarter since the
spring of 2017 with a fall of about 3.3% as hopes for a swift
recovery from the COVID-19 economic crash made investors exit
safe havens and buy into riskier currencies.
    The dollar rose 0.3% against the Swiss franc to 0.9223
 and was little changed versus the yen at 105.66 yen
    Currency bid prices at 10:22AM (1422 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
 Euro/Dollar      EUR=        $1.1724        $1.1742     -0.15%         +4.59%      +1.1755     +1.1686
 Dollar/Yen       JPY=        105.6700       105.6400    +0.03%         -2.93%      +105.8000   +105.4400
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     123.89         124.05      -0.13%         +1.59%      +124.2400   +123.5600
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9211         0.9192      +0.21%         -4.83%      +0.9244     +0.9191
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.2903         1.2861      +0.33%         -2.69%      +1.2908     +1.2807
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.3358         1.3387      -0.22%         +2.86%      +1.3420     +1.3354
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.7153         0.7127      +0.36%         +1.87%      +0.7157     +0.7101
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.0801         1.0796      +0.05%         -0.47%      +1.0816     +1.0793
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.9084         0.9127      -0.47%         +7.45%      +0.9157     +0.9084
 NZ               NZD=        0.6604         0.6586      +0.27%         -1.96%      +0.6612     +0.6570
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        9.4166         9.4185      -0.02%         +7.29%      +9.4944     +9.3926
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     11.0425        11.0617     -0.17%         +12.24%     +11.1141    +11.0390
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        8.9863         8.9580      +0.06%         -3.85%      +9.0343     +8.9533
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     10.5368        10.5306     +0.06%         +0.65%      +10.5735    +10.5204
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by
Julien Ponthus in London)