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FOREX-Dollar falls, Kiwi left behind as riskier currencies gain

Mon, 24th Aug 2020 09:08

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

LONDON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - The dollar fell in early London
trading on Monday, riskier currencies gained and European
markets opened higher, with some analysts attributing the pick
up in sentiment to U.S. regulators approving a treatment for
COVID-19 patients.

More than 800,000 people around the world have died from the
coronavirus, with the death toll in the United States alone
surpassing 170,000. On Sunday the country granted "emergency use
authorization" for treatment using the blood plasma of patients
who have recovered from the disease.

Asian shares strengthened overnight and European indexes
opened higher. Riskier currencies such as the Norwegian crown
and the British pound also rose versus the
dollar.

The dollar was little changed overnight but fell as markets
opened in Europe, down around 0.1% at 93.105 by 0704 GMT.

However, Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at
BDSwiss Group, warned clients to beware a false "risk-on" mood
and questioned whether the authorisation represented a real
treatment breakthrough or was timed to boost President Donald
Trump on the eve of the Republican National Convention.

The Australian dollar was up 0.3% versus the greenback at
0.71785, little affected by the country's treasury
saying that effective unemployment will climb above 13%.

The euro was up around 0.1% versus the dollar, at $1.18075
. Last week, the dollar outperformed the euro for the
first time since mid-June, as U.S. business activity improved
while European business surveys showed the economic recovery
faltering.

In France, the health minister on Saturday ruled out a total
lockdown but said localised measures could be taken. The country
posted a new record high in daily post-lockdown infections on
Sunday.

Italy also said it was not considering a new lockdown
despite a rising number of infections.

Lee Hardman, currency analyst at MUFG said that the new
growth in COVID-19 infections "threatens to undermine the
current elevated level of bullish euro sentiment and
positioning."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday extended
a coronavirus lockdown in Auckland, the country's largest city,
until the end of the week and introduced mandatory mask wearing
on public transport across the nation.

The Kiwi dollar did not strengthen along with other risk
currencies, but was down 0.1% against the dollar, at 0.6532
.

"The inevitable economic backlash is likely fuelling
speculation that the RBNZ (Reserve Bank of New Zealand) will
step in with more cuts soon, something which has been a key
driver of NZD recent underperformance," ING strategists wrote to
clients.

They noted the market is also grappling with geopolitical
concerns, with the protests in Belarus posing the risk of direct
intervention by Russia.

Elsewhere, China's foreign ministry said it would file a
lawsuit against the Trump administration over its ban on
Bytedance, the Chinese owners of messaging app WeChat and
video-sharing app TikTok.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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