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FOREX-Dollar slides as risk sentiment rises on U.S. stimulus hopes

    * Mnuchin, Pelosi express hope for new stimulus bill
    * 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 tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

 (Recasts, adds Mnuchin details, new comment, updates prices)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The dollar fell against most currencies in choppy trading, as risk
sentiment improved after U.S. government officials expressed hope that another stimulus package could be
passed to help ease the economic impact of the coronavirus-induced recession.
    The greenback slid against the yen and weakened versus currencies associated with higher risk appetite
such as the Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian dollars.
    U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both
expressed hope for a breakthrough on additional COVID-19 relief on Wednesday, as they prepared to resume
talks aimed at hammering out a bipartisan deal.
    "Renewed hopes for stimulus have whetted appetite for risk at the dollar's expense," said Joe Manimbo,
senior market analyst, at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington. 
    "It's encouraging to hear the rhetoric, but until it is signed, sealed, and delivered, the market will
be skeptical," he added.
    The dollar index was last trading little changed on the day at 93.90. The index hit a two-month
high last Friday.
    Tuesday's highly contentious debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe
Biden boosted the dollar earlier, as it reinforced concerns that the outcome of the Nov. 3 presidential
election could be contested.
    Trump and Biden battled fiercely over the Republican incumbent's record on the coronavirus pandemic,
health care and the economy in a chaotic and ill-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,"
said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York. 
    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 dollar-supportive. 
    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 428,000 initially reported.
    Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, however, said despite job gains, employment
was still more than 10 million jobs below its pre-pandemic level. "A full labor market recovery remains a
long way off," he noted.
    Data also showed that U.S. gross domestic product plunged at a 31.4% annualized rate in the second
quarter, the deepest drop in output since the government started keeping records in 1947, based on the
Commerce Department's third estimate of GDP.
    The euro was down 0.2% against the dollar at $1.1716.   
    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 fell 0.1% against the yen to 105.55.
    The Australian dollar rose 0.6% against the greenback to US$0.7166. The New Zealand dollar
gained 0.5% to US$0.6621. Against the Canadian dollar, the U.S. dollar fell 0.5% C$1.3319
.
    
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 12:43PM (1643 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar      EUR=        $1.1716        $1.1742     -0.22%         +4.51%      +1.1755     +1.1686
 Dollar/Yen       JPY=        105.5300       105.6400    -0.10%         -3.06%      +105.8000   +105.4100
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     123.64         124.05      -0.33%         +1.40%      +124.2400   +123.5600
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9216         0.9192      +0.26%         -4.77%      +0.9244     +0.9163
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.2900         1.2861      +0.30%         -2.71%      +1.2942     +1.2807
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.3321         1.3387      -0.49%         +2.58%      +1.3420     +1.3317
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.7169         0.7127      +0.59%         +2.11%      +0.7171     +0.7101
 ar                                                                                             
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.0797         1.0796      +0.01%         -0.51%      +1.0816     +1.0763
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.9080         0.9127      -0.51%         +7.40%      +0.9157     +0.9067
 NZ               NZD=        0.6622         0.6586      +0.55%         -1.69%      +0.6624     +0.6570
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                  
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        9.3607         9.4185      -0.61%         +6.63%      +9.4944     +9.3513
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     10.9686        11.0617     -0.84%         +11.49%     +11.1141    +10.9579
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        8.9565         8.9580      -0.35%         -4.18%      +9.0343     +8.9375
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     10.4938        10.5306     -0.35%         +0.24%      +10.5735    +10.4840
 
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Paul Simao)
  
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