FOREX-Euro skids to new low ahead of GDP data, dollar shines

Reuters

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    * Euro weakest since April 2017 on growth concerns
    * Dollar finds more buyers amid coronavirus worries
    * Yen, Swiss franc well supported as investors stay nervous
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

    LONDON, Feb 14 (Reuters) - The euro eased to another nearly
three-year low on Friday as investors worried about slowing
growth momentum in the euro zone ahead of an estimate of how its
economy performed in the fourth quarter.
    The European single currency has lost 1% so far this week
and is on track for its worst two-week performance since
mid-2018. Fourth-quarter gross domestic product data is due at
1000 GMT - economists polled by Reuters expect 0.1%
quarter-on-quarter growth, the same as the previous 3-month
period.
    "The bearish trend on EUR/USD may continue today as growth
data out of the euro zone are quite unlikely to improve the grim
economic outlook for the area," ING analysts said in a note.
    "At this stage, with worries around the negative impacts of
coronavirus on the euro zone economy, even some
better-than-expected data may not be enough to trigger an
inversion in the bearish EUR trend." 
    The euro fell to $1.0827  EUR=EBS  overnight before settling
at $1.0841, down marginally on the day.
    The single currency has been buffeted by signs of a slowdown
in powerhouse Germany and ongoing demand for dollars. Against
the Swiss franc, the euro weakened to another 4-1/2 year low of
1.060 francs  EURCHF=EBS .  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N29Y5TM
    Concerns about the extent of the coronavirus in China after
officials in Hubei announced a sharp increase in new infections
and deaths has kept both the safe-haven yen and the dollar well
supported.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2AB6U4
    The dollar index  .DXY ., which measures the currency
against a basket of rivals, rose to its strongest since October.
It has risen 0.4% this week - on top of gains of 1.3% last week.
    As well as euro zone data, traders are also waiting for a
batch of U.S. data later in the day including retail sales and
industrial production numbers.
    The yen  JPY=EBS  edged up to 109.77 per dollar on Friday,
following a 0.25% gain the previous session.
    In the onshore market, China's yuan  CNY=CFXS  slipped 0.06%
to 6.9818 per dollar, while its offshore counterpart  CNH=EBS 
clawed back earlier losses and was last at 6.985, following a
0.2% decline on Thursday.
    Uncertainty about the real extent of the epidemic is likely
to discourage investors from taking on excessive risk until
there is sufficient evidence that its spread has slowed.
    "There is a return of risk aversion, so yen and other
safe-haven assets have risen, but reaction so far has been
temporary and limited," said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency
strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.
    Sterling consolidated gains around the $1.3060 mark  GBP=D3 
after jumping on Thursday when the announcement of a new British
finance minister, an ultra-loyalist to Prime Minister Boris
Johnson, raised expectations that the upcoming budget would
increase public spending to boost the economy following
Britain's Jan. 31 withdrawal from the European Union.
    Against the euro, the pound rose 0.1% to 82.995 pence
 EURGBP=D3 , close to a 2-month high. 

 (Reporting by Tommy Reggiori Wilkes with additional reporting
by Stanley White in Tokyo
Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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