August 17, 2018 / 12:51 AM / a month ago

FOREX-Dollar subdued as confidence returns, focus on U.S.-China trade talks

* Dollar index steady

* Focus on next week’s U.S.-China trade meeting

* Easing risk aversion halts dollar’s advance, gives euro relief

* Turkish lira, Chinese yuan little changed

* RBA Governor says rates will stay low for a while, Aussie dips

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO, Aug 17 (Reuters) - The dollar was little changed against other major currencies on Friday after nudging away from 13-1/2-month highs amid easing risk aversion and as investors awaited the next developments in the U.S.-China trade saga.

The dollar index, a measure of the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major peers, was steady at 96.647.

It had climbed to 96.984, its highest since late June 2017 on Wednesday during a week in which a plunge by the Turkish lira to record lows and concerns over China’s economic health hit emerging market currencies, driving up demand for the safe-haven greenback.

The dollar lost steam, however, after China and the United States agreed on Thursday to hold a new round of trade talks on Aug. 21-22, helping stem risk aversion in the broader markets.

“The ‘risk on’ mood generated by news of the U.S.-China trade talks is weighing on the dollar, while prompting some buy backs of the euro, which has been hit earlier this week by Turkish concerns,” said Shin Kadota, senior strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.

“Next week, the main focus will likely shift to U.S.-China trade issues from Turkey with the Chinese delegation visiting Washington and as $16 billion in new tariffs on Chinese good are due to take effect.”

Next week’s lower-level trade talks between the world’s two biggest economies may have brought some relief to the wary financial markets. Still, White House Economic adviser Larry Kudlow warned Beijing not to underestimate President Donald Trump’s resolve in pushing for changes in China’s economic policies.

On Aug. 23, $16 billion in new U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods take effect, along with an equal amount of retaliatory tariffs from Beijing.

The euro was a shade lower at $1.1372 after gaining 0.3 percent overnight. The single currency was down 0.3 percent this week, during which it brushed a 13-month low of $1.1301 in the wake of concerns that financial turmoil in Turkey could negatively affect European banks.

The Turkish lira, which helped trigger global market turbulence at the week’s start, was little changed at 5.87 per dollar.

The lira plunged to a record low of 7.24 on Monday before mounting a three-day rebound, helped by factors including measures by the Turkish central bank to support its currency and Qatar’s pledge to invest $15 billion in Turkey.

However, there are still concerns over Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s policies to combat the country’s double-digit inflation and his row with Washington over detained American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The offshore Chinese yuan was little changed at 6.87 per dollar. It had rallied more than 1 percent on Thursday in light of the U.S.-China trade talk news, pulled back from a 19-month trough of 6.9585 set midweek.

The dollar nudged up 0.1 percent to 110.99 yen, on track to end the week virtually flat.

The Australian dollar edged down 0.1 percent to $0.7255 after Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe said on Friday that interest rates will stay at record lows “for a while yet” as inflation remains lukewarm and there is still spare capacity in the labour market.

The Aussie had gained 0.3 percent the previous day following news of the new round of U.S.-China trade discussions.

Editing by Sam Holmes

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