June 11, 2020 / 9:47 AM / a month ago

FOREX-Yen, franc gain after Fed paints a gloomy picture

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Saikat Chatterjee

LONDON, June 11 (Reuters) - The Japanese yen and the Swiss franc gained on Thursday as expectations that the global economy will recover swiftly from the coronavirus pandemic took a beating after a U.S. central bank policy meeting.

The Federal Reserve signaled it plans years of extraordinary support for the U.S. economy, which policymakers project will shrink by 6.5% in 2020, that the unemployment rate will be 9.3% at the end of this year, and that interest rates are expected to remain near zero until the end of 2022.

The dire projections took the wind out of a broadening rally in stock markets over the previous two weeks and prompted investors to dump the Australian dollar and other commodity-linked currencies.

Against a basket of its rivals, the dollar weakened 0.1% to 96.04 after edging 0.2% higher in Asian trade as global stock markets weakened.

Versus the Swiss franc, the dollar slipped to a three-month low and it languished near a one-month low versus the yen.

"Our assessment after the FOMC's statement is that the trend for a weaker dollar that has set in June is likely to continue as the Fed has shown no indication that it will stop this trend," said Thomas Flury, head of FX strategies at UBS Global Wealth Management.

The dollar had gained previously from episodes of broader market selling, but the U.S. currency was on the back foot on Thursday on concerns of a second wave of coronavirus infections.

New infections in the United States showed a slight increase after five weeks of declines, according to a Reuters analysis, only part of which was attributed to more testing.

"The risk of a second wave outweighed the Fed’s 'zero forever' message and the FX market took a distinctly risk-off mood, with a typical reaction," said Marshall Gittler, Head of Investment Research at BDSwiss Group.

High-beta currencies heavily geared towards global growth, such as the Australian dollar and the Norwegian crown, led losers in the currency space, falling 1% in early London trading.

The euro rose 0.1%, leaving open the possibility of more downside for the dollar once the dust settles. The single currency last bought $1.1385.

Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Jane Merriman

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