January 10, 2020 / 9:24 PM / 9 days ago

FOREX-Dollar inches lower vs yen, Swiss franc amid Iran sanctions

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

 (Adds new comment, updates prices)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar edged lower from four-week highs against the safe-haven
Japanese yen and slipped versus the Swiss franc on Friday as possible renewed U.S.-Iran tensions weighed
on market sentiment.
    The greenback was also pressured by weaker-than-expected U.S. payrolls data for December, which
followed a batch of strong economic figures. The report, however, was unlikely to sway the Federal Reserve
from its neutral stance on interest rates.
    The dollar index still posted its best weekly performance in two months.
    Over the last few sessions, the currency market has been badgered by geopolitical tension. The yen and
Swiss franc had fallen from highs hit last week after the United States and Iran, in recent comments,
moved away from an all-out conflict.
    Concerns grew, however, 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.
    Wall Street shares fell, while U.S. yields sank as investors flocked to the Treasury market.
    The renewed U.S.-Iran tension came on the heels of a soft U.S. non-farm payrolls report. The dollar
lost steam after the jobs data.
    U.S. data showed 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.
    More importantly, average hourly earnings rose just 0.1%, after increasing 0.3% in November. Markets
were expecting a 0.3% rise.
    "The silver lining here is that a job and income growth slowdown has already been incorporated into
our 2020 economic outlook. So while the December jobs and income data was somewhat worse than we forecast,
the 2020 outlook for a U.S. GDP growth slowdown, but no recession, remains intact," said Scott Anderson,
chief economist, at Bank of the West.
    Against a basket of currencies, the dollar fell 0.1% 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 dipped versus the Swiss franc to 0.9727.
    
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 4:08 PM (2108 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=        109.4700       109.5100    -0.04%         +0.56%      +109.6900   +109.4500
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     121.76         121.62      +0.12%         -0.16%      +121.8300   +121.5300
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9726         0.9731      -0.05%         +0.50%      +0.9762     +0.9721
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.3055         1.3065      -0.08%         -1.54%      +1.3095     +1.3043
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.3060         1.3054      +0.05%         +0.57%      +1.3075     +1.3029
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.6904         0.6857      +0.69%         -1.67%      +0.6911     +0.6851
 ar                                                                                             
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.0818         1.0807      +0.10%         -0.31%      +1.0829     +1.0805
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.8519         0.8499      +0.24%         +0.77%      +0.8521     +0.8481
 NZ               NZD=        0.6636         0.6614      +0.33%         -1.48%      +0.6645     +0.6603
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                  
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        8.8870         8.8803      +0.08%         +1.24%      +8.9125     +8.8729
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     9.8869         9.8652      +0.22%         +0.50%      +9.8889     +9.8527
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        9.5003         9.4886      +0.25%         +1.64%      +9.5216     +9.4801
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     10.5679        10.5417     +0.25%         +0.94%      +10.5687    +10.5316
 
    
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by David Gregorio, Dan Grebler and Richard Chang)
  
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