FOREX-Dollar dips as investors brace for surge in jobless claims

Reuters

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    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * U.S. weekly jobless claims in focus
    * Investors await word on U.S. stimulus vote
    * Coronavirus is ravaging global economy

    By Stanley White
    TOKYO, March 26 (Reuters) - The dollar fell against the yen
on Thursday before data expected to show a surge in U.S. claims
for unemployment benefits as companies lay off workers due to
the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
    The pound extended declines against the euro and the dollar
due to lingering worries that Britain is not adequately prepared
to deal with an increase in coronavirus cases after the flu-like
illness ravaged health care systems in Italy and Spain.
    The Australian and New Zealand dollars, both of which are
closely liked to the global commodity trade, fell against their
U.S. counterpart as traders avoided taking on excessive risk.
    Investors anxiously await the passage of a $2 trillion U.S.
stimulus package to offset the economic impact of the
coronavirus pandemic, but there are already indications that
some U.S. states will need more money for medical supplies as
the health care system struggles to cope.
    "It could be difficult for the markets to digest weekly
jobless claims," said Tohru Sasaki, head of Japan markets
research at JP Morgan Securities in Tokyo.
    "Bad numbers are expected and priced in to a certain extent,
but there are people who think things will get even worse. In
the end this may support the dollar as investors choose to bring
their money home."
    The dollar fell 0.2% to 110.98 yen  JPY=EBS  in Asia on
Thursday.
    Against the Swiss franc  CHF=EBS , the dollar was little
changed at 0.9652.
    Sterling  GBP=D3  fell 0.43% to $1.1831 and fell 0.5% to
92.08 pence per euro  EURGBP=D3 .
    The pound's losses accelerated early in Asian trade after
the British government said the total number of coronavirus
cases in the UK rose to 9,529 on Wednesday from 8,077 the
previous day.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2BI5OE
    U.S. weekly jobless claims due later on Thursday are
expected to rise to around a million, which would be well above
the previous peak seen during the global financial crisis.
    Some analysts say jobless claims could even exceed one
million as companies are expected to rapidly shed workers.
    Draconian restrictions on personal movement aimed at slowing
the spread of the coronavirus are widely expected to cause a
global recession.
    Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate hoped to vote
on Wednesday on a $2 trillion emergency package but found
themselves fending off critics from the right and left who
threatened to hold up the bill.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2BI0KN
    U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to swiftly sign the
bill into law, but a Senate vote has yet to be scheduled.
    The euro  EUR=EBS  held steady at $1.0846 in Asia on
Thursday. The common currency held on to gains against the Swiss
franc  EURCHF=EBBS , trading at 1.0632.
    The German lower house on Wednesday suspended the country's
debt brake and approved a debt-financed supplementary budget of
156 billion euros to pay for healthcare and keep companies
afloat.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2BI748
    The Australian dollar  AUD=D3  fell 1% to $0.5905, while the
New Zealand dollar  NZD=D3  declined by 0.79% to $0.5805.
    Both the Aussie and the kiwi collapsed to multi-year lows
earlier this month as nervous investors liquidated positions in
favour of holding their money in the greenback in cash deposits.

 (Reporting by Stanley White; editing by Richard Pullin)
 ((stanley.white@tr.com; +81 (0)3 4563 2799;
twitter.com/stanleywhite1 ;))

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