Dollar regains footing vs yen, Swiss franc in choppy trading

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar recovered against the yen and Swiss franc on Wednesday, bolstered by a rebound on Wall Street, as investors turned less pessimistic about the impact of China’s move to slap tariffs on key U.S. imports in response to a similar measure from the United States.

FILE PHOTO: A U.S. one-hundred dollar bill (C) and Japanese 10,000 yen notes are spread in Tokyo, in this February 28, 2013 picture illustration. REUTERS/Shohei Miyano/File Photo

Some analysts said the trade tension may not have as severe an impact on the dollar as initially thought. And if it ends up having an impact, it could be either a positive or negative factor for the greenback.

“There is a scenario that is dollar positive in that maybe the current account deficit is reduced or the Fed raises rates,” Steven Englander, head of research and strategy at Rafiki Capital in New York, said.

“Normally that would be seen as dollar positive. But there is a dollar negative aspect in that perhaps the tariffs apply to some necessary components of the U.S. economy, and slow it down,” he added.

In the midst of the U.S.-China trade tension, the dollar has weakened in three of the last five sessions against the yen, down more than 5 percent so far this year. Against the Swiss franc, the greenback has fallen 1.4 percent so far in 2018.

The Japanese and Swiss currencies tend to appreciate in times of geopolitical and economic stress.

China on Wednesday proposed tariffs on U.S. imports including soybeans, planes, cars, beef and chemicals. The Chinese plan came hours after Washington unveiled a detailed breakdown of some 1,300 Chinese industrial, transport and medical goods that could be subject to 25 percent duties.

The Chinese news dominated the market, overshadowing a U.S. employment report by payrolls processor ADP which showed a higher-than-expected 241,000 private sector jobs created last month.

“To the extent it is useful, (the ADP survey) points to a labour market still in exceptionally good health,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.

In afternoon trading, after trading lower for most of the session, the dollar rose 0.1 percent against the yen to 106.72 yen, and gained 0.2 percent versus the Swiss franc to 0.9606 franc.

The dollar, however, dipped 0.1 percent against a basket of six major currencies to 90.14, as the euro edged up slightly versus the dollar to $1.2280.

In the aftermath of the Chinese tariffs, the yuan on Wednesday suffered its biggest one-day loss versus the dollar since mid-February, down 0.6 percent at 6.3094 yuan per dollar.

The Chinese currency had been strengthening this year, fuelling speculation on whether Beijing can intervene in markets to limit its rise.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Daniel Bases; Editing by David Gregorio and Chizu Nomiyama