Euro climbs above $1.24 to three-week high

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LONDON: The euro rose above $1.24 to a three-week high on Tuesday after solid Chinese economic data and receding worries about more U.S. strikes in Syria revived risk sentiment, although a monthly survey of German investor sentiment undercut the optimism.

With peripheral bond yields falling to multi-week highs, investors resumed buying the euro, nearly pulling it out of a narrow trading range in which it has been trapped for weeks <GVD/EUR>.

Holding above $1.24 should encourage euro bulls again after a rally earlier this year faltered.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments about China and Russia trying to devalue their currencies this week also weighed on the dollar, with investors believing that the U.S. administration wants to see a weaker currency.

That helped the euro rally 0.3 percent to $1.2412 EUR=, its highest since March 28, before it retreated after a monthly survey showed morale among German investors was deteriorating.

“There’s been a general weakness in the dollar and risk sentiment seems to be reviving somewhat. That is supporting the euro but also sterling and Asian currencies,” said Alvin Tan, FX Strategist at Societe Generale.”

While the dollar was flat against a basket of major currencies .DXY, it held near a two-week low tested earlier in the Asian session.

Several Asian currencies, including the Korean Won KRW=, rose on hopes that U.S.-China trade conflict would calm down.

Elsewhere, the Swiss franc fell to its lowest versus the euro since the Swiss National Bank scrapped its currency peg in January 2015. Sterling reached a new post-Brexit referendum high.

The franc, which analysts expect to fall further as the Swiss central bank sticks to its loose monetary policy even as rivals tighten, slipped 0.2 percent on the day to 1.1905 EURCHF=.

TALKING DOWN THE DOLLAR?

Against the yen, the dollar fell to 107.06 yen JPY=, off the seven-week high of 107.78 yen it touched on Friday, before a meeting between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tokyo is eager to avoid being pushed into talks on a two-way free-trade agreement aimed not only at market access but at monetary and currency policies.

Traders suspect Washington will put pressure on Japan after the U.S. Treasury’s semi-annual currency report on Friday kept Japan on a monitoring list for possible manipulation.

Trump accused Russia and China on Monday of devaluing their currencies, even though the yuan has been strengthening and U.S. sanctions have been blamed for rouble’s decline.

“How grounded the comment is in fact is much less important than the fact that he said it. It also suggests that President Trump could attempt to ‘talk down the dollar’ to shrink the US import bill. This will undoubtedly reinforce the appetite for investors to hedge their dollar exposures given the unpredictability and uncertainty over dollar policy going forward,” MUFG analysts said in a note.

China’s economy grew 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, data showed on Tuesday, above expectations and unchanged from the previous quarter.—Reuters