Dollar eyes one-month lows as trade war fears grow

Dollar eyes one-month lows as trade war fears grow
* U.S. seeking to impose tariffs on Chinese imports

* Euro dives after dovish comments by ECB's Draghi

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2018

By Saikat Chatterjee

LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - The dollar was pinned near one-week lows on Wednesday as news that the United States is seeking to impose tariffs of up to $60 billion of Chinese imports raised concerns that a brewing trade war may escalate quickly.

The latest developments hit the greenback which has recovered smartly from February lows and reached a six-week high earlier this month on growing expectations of as many as four interest rate increases this year.

"It is not clear what the outcome will be for currency markets if a full blown trade war breaks but it should be generally bad for the dollar," said Lefteris Farmakis, a macro strategist with UBS based in London.

The dollar index was broadly flat at 89.56, its lowest level since March 8 and within striking distance of a one-month low of 89.40.

At the start of the month, the dollar hit 90.90, its highest since Jan. 19, but it has slipped since then as the trade war concerns have grown.

U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports and will target the technology and telecommunications sectors, two people who discussed the issue with the Trump administration said on Tuesday.

The news comes before a G20 meeting next week where the world's leaders will pledge to fight unfair trade practices and stress the role of global trade rules.

The dollar also lost some traction after February U.S. inflation data on Tuesday matched expectations, suggesting the Federal Reserve remained on track to raise rates at a gradual pace.

Against the yen, the dollar was flat at 106.640 yen , having slipped overnight from a two-week high of 107.300 reached after wariness over a political controversy in Japan waned slightly.

Elsewhere, the euro hit the day's lows after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi struck a dovish tone in his speech.

The single currency was down 0.2 percent on the day, at $1.2364.

The ECB needs further evidence that inflation is rising towards its target but is also growing more confident that it is on track to do so, Draghi said on Wednesday.

The pound rose about 0.2 percent to a two-week high of $1.3996.

The Australian dollar added 0.1 percent to $0.7870, in reach of a two-week peak of $0.7898 scaled the previous day on robust business indicators.

Risk appetite was firmly on the front foot with the euro gaining against the Swiss franc, up more than 1.5 percent so far this month.

(Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro in TOKYO; editing by David Stamp)

First Published: 2018-03-14 02:59:20
Updated 2018-03-14 14:24:17

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