* Sterling drops on weak growth data * Chinese yuan gains, yen weakens on better risk appetite (New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments to U.S. market open, new byline, changes dateline, previous LONDON) By Karen Brettell NEW YORK, Jan 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar index edged higher on Monday before a heavy week of data, while sterling was the weakest performer after tepid growth increased the likelihood that the Bank of England will cut interest rates this month. In the United States, consumer price data on Tuesday and retail sales data on Thursday are this week’s main U.S. economic focuses. The greenback weakened on Friday after U.S. job growth slowed in December. The pound slipped after data on Monday showed that Britain’s economy grew at its weakest annual pace in more than seven years in November. “The UK story is a reminder that despite what may have been feared earlier, the U.S. remains in solid shape ... whereas the rest of the world’s struggling,” said Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York. On Sunday, another Bank of England policymaker, Gertjan Vlieghe, said he would vote for a rate cut this month unless economic data improved significantly. The dollar index gained 0.10% to 97.457. Sterling dropped 0.53% against the dollar to $1.2990, after earlier falling as low as $1.2959. The offshore Chinese yuan reached a 5-1/2-month high and the safe-haven Japanese yen dropped to a 7-1/2-month low as the imminent signing of a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal boosted sentiment. The U.S.-China Phase 1 agreement, due to be signed at the White House on Wednesday, marks the first step toward ending a damaging 18-month trade dispute between the world's two largest economies. Adam Cole, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said that in the absence of any significant announcements over the weekend "markets have defaulted to small risk-on moves". The Australian dollar, which has been hurt by worries about the economic damage of the country's continuing bushfires, rose to a one-week high of $0.6919 before giving back those gains. ======================================================== Currency bid prices at 9:51AM (1451 GMT) Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid Previous Change Session Euro/Dollar EUR= $1.1120 $1.1120 +0.00% -0.80% +1.1135 +1.1113 Dollar/Yen JPY= 109.8800 109.4600 +0.38% +0.94% +109.9200 +109.4500 Euro/Yen EURJPY= 122.19 121.74 +0.37% +0.20% +122.2900 +121.7400 Dollar/Swiss CHF= 0.9712 0.9723 -0.11% +0.35% +0.9736 +0.9705 Sterling/Dollar GBP= 1.2990 1.3059 -0.53% -2.03% +1.3062 +1.2962 Dollar/Canadian CAD= 1.3052 1.3050 +0.02% +0.51% +1.3067 +1.3035 Australian/Doll AUD= 0.6894 0.6901 -0.10% -1.81% +0.6919 +0.6883 ar Euro/Swiss EURCHF= 1.0801 1.0815 -0.13% -0.47% +1.0833 +1.0799 Euro/Sterling EURGBP= 0.8560 0.8511 +0.58% +1.25% +0.8579 +0.8515 NZ NZD= 0.6621 0.6629 -0.12% -1.71% +0.6652 +0.6622 Dollar/Dollar Dollar/Norway NOK= 8.9056 8.8855 +0.23% +1.45% +8.9164 +8.8638 Euro/Norway EURNOK= 9.9029 9.8817 +0.21% +0.66% +9.9133 +9.8656 Dollar/Sweden SEK= 9.4937 9.4990 -0.07% +1.57% +9.5288 +9.4814 Euro/Sweden EURSEK= 10.5568 10.5645 -0.07% +0.84% +10.5925 +10.5470 (Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes in London; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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