Dollar falls against yen, Swiss franc as traders weigh China outlook
By Hannah Lang and Harry Robertson
WASHINGTON/LONDON, Dec 29 (Reuters) - The dollar slipped on Thursday after rising in the previous session, with investors on edge at the end of the year as initial optimism over China's reopening fizzled out.
After hitting a one-week high against the yen on Wednesday, which saw the dollar touch 134.40, the greenback hit a session low against the yen on Thursday. The dollar JPY=EBS last fell 1.050% versus the yen to 133.065.
The dollar also fell against the Swiss franc CHF= to as low as 0.9208, the lowest level since March 31. It was last down 0.57% at 0.923.
The euro EUR= edged higher, up 0.3% to $1.064 after falling 0.27% on Wednesday.
Investors are weighing the impact of China's rapid loosening of its strict COVID-19 rules with a surge in new infections.
Following China's removal of its quarantine rule for inbound travelers from Jan. 8, the United States, Japan, India and other countries said they would require COVID tests for travelers from China.
"China is one of the keys I think to 2023 and what happens to the global economy," said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA Bank.
"If they can bounce back from the dramatic slowdowns that we've seen, that helps the overall growth on the global scale, but on the other hand, it could also lead to higher energy demand and more demand means higher prices," he said.
The offshore Chinese yuan fell 0.23% versus the greenback at $6.9788 per dollar.
"Many countries adopting an additional layer of testing for travelers arriving from China reflect hobbled resumption of travel amid China's outbreak," Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, said.
"This might also fuel fears of new strains of COVID that could once again disrupt the global recovery."
But analysts warned against reading too much into price moves amid low trading volumes as markets head into the new year.
"We very much appear to be in drifting mode, awaiting the turn of the year when traders return and we can get the latest thoughts from policymakers and the most up-to-date data," said Craig Erlam, markets analyst at currency platform Oanda.
Gaffney added that markets had historically experienced enhanced volatility at the end of the year because trading volumes are so light.
"When we go into year-end, typically you can have a lot of volatility on the last days because some of the funds will be harvesting losses or making some moves, and even one fund can start to move the markets when they're this thin," he said.
Against a basket of currencies, the U.S. dollar index =USD fell 0.23% to 104.100, having climbed 0.18% in the previous session.
Sterling GBP=D3 rose 0.1% to $1.20290, after slipping 0.11% the previous day. It climbed as high as $1.206 earlier in the session but gave up some of its gains.
The aussie AUD=D3 was last 0.28% versus the greenback at $0.676., while the kiwi NZD=D3 last rose 0.55% versus the greenback at $0.634.
Currency bid prices at 10:00AM (1500 GMT) Description
U.S. Close Pct Change
+104.4500 +103.8800 Euro/Dollar
+134.3800 +132.9100 Euro/Yen
+142.6800 +141.6000 Dollar/Swiss
+0.9211 Sterling/Dollar GBP=D3
+$1.2017 Dollar/Canadian CAD=D3
World FX rates Link
Reporting by Hannah Lang in Washington and Harry Roberston in
London; Additional reporting by Rae Wee; Editing by Bradley
Perrett, Stephen Coates, Andrew Heavens, Nick Macfie anad Alison
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