January 10, 2020 / 6:07 PM / 9 days ago

FOREX-Dollar slips vs safe-haven yen, Swiss franc amid Iran sanctions

    * U.S payrolls weaker than expected in December
    * Yen, Swiss franc draw bids after Iran sanctions
    * 

 (Recasts, adds comment, updates prices)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar fell from four-week highs against the safe-haven yen and
slid versus the Swiss franc on Friday as investors fretted over possible  renewed geopolitical tensions
between the United States and Iran.
    The yen and Swiss franc had fallen from highs hit last week after the United States and Iran, in
comments earlier this week, moved away from an all-out conflict.
    But concerns grew after the United States imposed more sanctions on Iran on Friday in response to its
retaliatory missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq and vowed to tighten the screws further on the Iranian
economy if Tehran continued to engage in what it described as terrorist acts.
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an appearance at the White House, said he had "no doubt" that
Iran had full intention of killing U.S. forces in a missile attack on a base in Iraq in retaliation for
the U.S. killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.
    "The fact that the U.S. is still sort of acting aggressively toward Iran and still taking a hard line,
helped create demand for safe havens," said Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Cambridge Global
Payments in Toronto.
    U.S. yields also fell as investors flocked to the Treasury market.
    The renewed U.S.-Iran tension came on the heels of a weaker-than-expected U.S. non-farm payrolls
report for December.
    The soft U.S. payrolls number, which followed a batch of strong economic figures, was still unlikely
to sway the Federal Reserve from its current neutral stance. 
    The dollar pared gains after the jobs data.
    U.S. data showed that non-farm payrolls increased by 145,000 last month, lower than market forecasts
of 164,000. Data for October and November was revised to show 14,000 fewer jobs added than previously
reported. The economy created 2.1 million jobs in 2019, down from 2.7 million in 2018.
    More importantly, average hourly earnings rose three cents, or just 0.1%, after increasing 0.3% in
November. Markets were expecting a 0.3% rise.
   "What it does mean is that the U.S. dollar would be on the defensive," said Bipan Rai, North American
head of FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets in Toronto. "Certainly, being long dollar has been a popular
position for some time so investors would be looking to clear out those positions." 
    Against a basket of currencies, the dollar fell 0.2% to 97.30.  The dollar index hit a two-week
high of 97.584 during the session. 
    The dollar also eased from a four-week peak against the yen to trade slightly lower on the day at
109.49 yen.
    The greenback also fell 0.1% versus the Swiss franc to 0.9727.
    
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 12:45PM (1745 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar      EUR=        $1.1122        $1.1105     +0.15%         -0.79%      +1.1129     +1.1086
 Dollar/Yen       JPY=        109.4900       109.5100    -0.02%         +0.58%      +109.6900   +109.4500
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     121.78         121.62      +0.13%         -0.14%      +121.8200   +121.5300
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9728         0.9731      -0.03%         +0.52%      +0.9762     +0.9721
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.3059         1.3065      -0.05%         -1.51%      +1.3095     +1.3043
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.3045         1.3054      -0.07%         +0.45%      +1.3075     +1.3029
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.6909         0.6857      +0.76%         -1.60%      +0.6911     +0.6851
 ar                                                                                             
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.0819         1.0807      +0.11%         -0.30%      +1.0829     +1.0805
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.8514         0.8499      +0.18%         +0.71%      +0.8519     +0.8481
 NZ               NZD=        0.6642         0.6614      +0.42%         -1.40%      +0.6645     +0.6603
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                  
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        8.8829         8.8803      +0.03%         +1.19%      +8.9125     +8.8729
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     9.8790         9.8652      +0.14%         +0.42%      +9.8875     +9.8527
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        9.4955         9.4886      +0.20%         +1.58%      +9.5216     +9.4801
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     10.5630        10.5417     +0.20%         +0.90%      +10.5679    +10.5316
 
    
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London; Editing by
David Gregorio and Dan Grebler)
  
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