Dollar gains on safety flows after China data, yuan eases on rate cut



By Joice Alves and Kevin Buckland

LONDON, Aug 15 (Reuters) - The safe-haven U.S. dollar rose on Monday after a new batch of disappointing data from China bolstered global recession worries, while the yuan weakened following a People's Bank of China surprise rate cut.

Chinese industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment all fell short of analyst estimates on Monday, as a nascent recovery from draconian COVID-19 lockdowns faltered.

"Of course, bad data from China also weighs on recession worries for the rest of the world," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, market strategist at Swissquote. That pushed down the euro against the greenback, she added.

The dollar was also supported by Federal Reserve policymakers' hawkish comments in response to early signs that U.S. inflation may have peaked.

Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin told CNBC on Friday that he would like to see inflation running at the Fed's 2% target for "some time" before stopping rate hikes.

"The euro is slowly finding its way back down towards parity after the spike last week. It is too early for the Fed to take its foot off the brake, despite the drop in inflation," said Jens Nærvig Pedersen, chief analyst, FX and rates strategy at DanskeBank. He maintained a bullish U.S. dollar view.

The onshore yuan CNY=CFXS eased to a one-week low of 6.7696 per dollar, compared with the previous close of 6.7430, after the People's Bank of China unexpectedly lowered borrowing costs on medium-term policy loans and a short-term liquidity tool for the second time this year.

"Despite the warning of inflation risk and flush liquidity conditions, the dominant downside risks from the COVID spread and property-sector rout prompted the PBOC to cut rates to stimulate demand," said Ken Cheung, chief Asian FX strategist at Mizuho Bank.

The U.S. dollar index =USD against six peers rose 0.25% to 105.96, consolidating near the middle of its range this month.

Last week, fueling investor hopes for less aggressive Fed tightening, U.S. data showed the first decline in import prices for seven months, following statistics showing U.S. consumer and producer prices also cooling.

Analysts will scour minutes of the Fed's most recent meeting, due to be released on Wednesday, for more clues on policymakers' thinking, while retail sales data on Friday will give some fresh insight on the economy's health.

Money markets now price 43.5% odds of another 75 basis-point rate hike by the Federal Open Market Committee in September, versus 56.5% probability of a slowing in the pace of tightening. IRPR

The euro EUR= eased 0.24% to $1.0232, weighed down by Europe's struggles with the war in Ukraine, the hunt for non-Russian energy sources and a hit to the German economy from scant rainfall.



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Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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