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Forex - U.S. Dollar, Yen Little Changed as Sino-U.S. Trade Tensions Ease

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The U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen were largely flat on Friday in Asia as tensions between China and the U.S. seemingly eased somewhat.

The USD/JPY pair last traded at 106.46 by 11:00 AM ET (03:00 GMT), down 0.03%.

Gao Feng, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said China is willing to negotiate with the U.S. on trade issues “with calm attitude,” adding that Beijing will not retaliate against U.S.’s latest tariff moves for now.

His comments sent global stocks higher and was cited as headwinds for the safe-haven yen, but political crisis in Hong Kong and Middle East supported the Japanese currency.

"There are so many geopolitical risk factors now. Not to mention U.S.-China trade conflicts, we have Brexit, Hong Kong and the Middle East. So we should expect the yen to jump from time to time,U.S. President Donald Trump said some discussions were taking place on Thursday, ahead of a looming deadline for additional U.S. tariffs on Sept. 1.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index was also little changed at 98.477.

Data showed overnight that U.S. second-quarter economic growth slowed to 2%, in line with expectations.

The Federal Reserve is expected to cut rates by 25 basis points in September to support the economy in the face of trade risk.

After the release of the data, Trump once again criticized the Fed for not cutting rates enough.

The GBP/USD pair slipped 0.1% to 1.2183 as the looming prospect of a no-deal Brexit kept traders on edge. Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided earlier this week to suspend Britain's parliament for more than a month before Brexit.

The move will limit the time opponents have to derail a disorderly Brexit but also increases the chance that Johnson could face a vote of no-confidence in his government, and possibly an election.The AUD/USD pair was down 0.2% to 0.6710, while the NZD/USD pair traded 0.2% lower to 0.6292.

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Last Updated : Aug 30, 2019 01:06 PM IST | Source: PTI 8.65% interest on EPF to be notified soon: Santosh Gangwar

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The labour ministry will soon notify 8.65 percent rate of interest on Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) for 2018-19 as the finance ministry does not disagree on this rate, said Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar on Friday.

A notification by the labour ministry is required regarding the interest rate for crediting the interest amount into accounts of over 6 crore subscribers.

Besides, it would enable retirement fund body Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to settle on withdrawal claims on this rate. Now, the EPFO is paying an interest rate of 8.55 per cent for 2018-19 under PF withdrawal claims. The 8.55 per cent interest rate on PF deposits was fixed for 2017-18.

"The finance ministry does not disagree with 8.65 per cent interest on EPF for 2018-19. I believe that it will soon be notified," Gangwar told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on private security guards at FICCI here.

In February, the EPFO's apex decision-making body Central Board of Trustees, headed by the labour minister, had decided to raise the interest rate on EPF to 8.65 per cent for 2018-19, which was the first increase in the past three years.

In April, the Department of Financial Services (DFS), a wing of the finance ministry, had given its concurrence to the EPFO's decision to provide 8.65 per cent rate of interest for 2018-19.

The rate was raised to 8.65 per cent for the previous financial year from 8.55 per cent provided in 2017-18. The EPFO had earlier reduced the interest rate for 2016-17 to 8.65 per cent as compared with 8.8 per cent for 2015-16.

After the finance ministry's concurrence, the income tax department and the labour ministry are required to notify the rate of interest for 2018-19. Thereafter, the EPFO would give directions to its over 136 field offices to credit the rate of interest into subscribers' account and settle their claims accordingly.

According to the EPFO estimates, there would be a surplus of Rs 151.67 crore after providing 8.65 per cent rate of interest for 2018-19 on EPF. There would have been a deficit of Rs 158 crore on providing 8.7 per cent rate of interest on EPF for the previous financial year. That is why the body decided to provide 8.65 per cent rate of interest for 2018-19.

FOREX-Yen firms as risk appetite fades; pound fragile

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The Japanese yen edged higher on Thursday, heading for its biggest monthly rise since May as risk appetite remained on the back foot with investors sceptical on the prospect of a trade-war breakthrough any time soon.

"Investors are still concerned about the trade war and there is little optimism we will see a substantial breakthrough in negotiations," said Esther Maria Reichelt, an FX strategist at Commerzbank (DE:CBKG).

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday made official its extra 5% tariff on $300 billion in Chinese imports and set collection dates of Sept. 1 and Dec. 15. the greenback JPY=EBS , the yen edged 0.2% higher at 105.83 yen. For the month, it is set to gain 2.5% against the dollar, putting it on track for its biggest monthly rise in three months.

"It's very difficult to take on any kind of major risk in this environment," said Chris Weston, head of research at forex brokerage Pepperstone Group, pointing to the inverted yield curve as an indicator of sentiment.Spreads between 10-year U.S. Treasury debt and comparable two-year bond yields inverted to minus 3 bps, its lowest since May 2007.

Sterling remained in the spotlight after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to suspend parliament raised the odds of a no-deal Brexit. GBP/ The British currency GBP=D3 edged a quarter of percent lower at $1.2183, approaching a January 2017 low below $1.2015.

China's onshore spot yuan CNY=CFXS eased slightly to be weaker for an 11th straight session, although a firmer-than-expected central bank fixing helped stem deeper losses. Against a basket of currencies .DXY , the dollar was steady around 98.190.

Elsewhere, the kiwi NZD=D3 was off 0.3% at $0.6318, after touching its lowest since September 2015 at $0.6311.

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Yen rises as resurgent gloom drives bets to safe harbors

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 A risk-off mood bolstered the safe-haven yen on Thursday, with record lows on U.S 30-year Treasury yields holding back the dollar as investors turned bleak on the prospect of a trade-war breakthrough any time soon.

The yen firmed 0.3% by lunchtime in Asian trade to as high as 105.91 per dollar , after the cautious optimism seen in currency markets in the morning gave way to gloom.

The Japanese currency also gained against the Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar , which hit a four-year low as business sentiment weakened.

The sterling was flat, nursing losses incurred on Wednesday when fears of a no-deal Brexit surged in response to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's move to suspend parliament in a bid to limit debate ahead of the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline.

"It's very difficult to take on any kind of major risk in this environment," said Chris Weston, head of research at forex brokerage Pepperstone Group, pointing to the inverted yield curve as an indicator of sentiment.

"We've got a pretty clear idea of what our two "We've got a pretty clear idea of what our two big circuit breakers are - those being a genuine feel toward the Xi-Trump relations and the other one is the Fed getting ahead of the curve," he said on the phone from Melbourne.

"We just don't think any of those are going to be triggered any time soon...we've just been advocating just staying in those core, defensive FX positions for the moment."

China's onshore spot yuan eased slightly, to be weaker for an 11th straight session, although a firmer-than-expected central bank fixing helped stem deeper losses. Against a basket of currencies (DXY) the dollar was steady around 98.190.

Dominating investor concerns is the inverted U.S. Treasury yield curve, in which long-dated yields are lower that short-dated ones, commonly considered a sign of future recession.

Sentiment in the currency market is also likely to be weighed by the Sino-U.S. trade dispute, which remains far from unresolved.

The latest round of tit-for-tat trade-war tariff hikes takes effect on Sunday, with Washington set to levy an extra 5% tariff - announced by President Donald Trump on Twitter last week - on $300 billion in Chinese imports.Retailers across the U.S. warned on Wednesday of price hikes and braced for job losses as a result, while on Thursday Korea outlined its most aggressive spending plan in a decade to buttress its weakening economy.

Yields on 30-year Treasuries (US30YT=RR) and 10-year German bunds both hit a record low as investors scrambled for the safety of government debt.

"The biggest market impact of these new threats is the uncertainty," Hannah Anderson, Global Market Strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management said by email.

"This uncertainty is having the most damaging effect on markets; it constrains investment, slows growth, elevates volatility, and darkens the outlook for investors of all stripes."

The latest gloomy omen came from New Zealand, where ANZ Bank's closely-watched survey of business sentiment showed deepening weakness in both activity and confidence. That suggests aggressive cuts in interest rates are yet to gain any traction.The kiwi was off 0.3% at $0.6318, after touching its lowest since September 2015 at $0.6311.

The pound held steady at $1.2202 on Thursday and was last quoted at 90.82 pence per euro (EURGBP=D3).

The Chinese yuan was close to lows not seen since the global financial crisis, trading onshore at 7.1663 per dollar and offshore a little weaker at 7.1728 per dollar at 0400 GMT.

The yen hit a session high of 105.91 by 0402 GMT. Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,542.00 per ounce, after hitting a six-year high on Monday.

The yen and gold are both considered safe-haven assets.

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Forex - New Zealand Dollar Down on Weak ANZ Business Confidence Indicator

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The New Zealand dollar dropped to near four-year lows against its U.S. counterpart after data showed the ANZ Business Confidence indicator slumped to -52.3 in August.

It was the weakest level since April 2008. The NZD/USD pair fell 0.4% to 0.6309 by 12:20 AM ET (04:20 GMT) following the report, lowest level since September 2015.

The Aussie dollar was also hit by the weak data. The AUD/USD pair slipped 0.1% to 0.6728.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index was little changed at 98.132.

In an interview with Bloomberg, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. does not intend to intervene in currency markets for now.

"Situations could change in the future but right now we are not contemplating an intervention,” 

Chinese negotiators will visit Washington for trade talks, but he declined to confirm whether a previously planned meeting in September would still take place.the governor of the People’s Bank of China, over what the U.S. has deemed manipulation of the yuan.

“We’ve had conversations with the IMF and directly with our counterparts in China, including the governor of the PBOC,” Mnuchin said. “We will have a separate dialog and discussion on currency as part of the trade discussion but separate from the trade discussion.”

An escalation in the trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies has roiled financial markets in recent days after both sides threatened to slap tariffs on each other's goods worth billions of dollars.

Separately, U.S. President Donald Trump continued to criticize the Federal Reserve for not being able to “keep up with the competition,” as he reiterated his stance that the central bank should lower rates.

The safe-haven yen rose today as stock markets traded mostly in the red. The USD/JPY pair was down 0.2% to 105.91.

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Real Estate sector boost expected this week, policy changes in the works

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The package, aimed primarily at home buyers and real estate developers, is expected this week, the paper quoted government officials as saying.

"There have been discussions on a task force for real estate similar to the one for infrastructure projects announced last week. The finance minister spoke about promoting rental housing sector. A new policy is in the works," one of the officials told BS.

Measures being considered include the creation of a task force, easing of interest subvention norms, new rental housing policy, lifting the affordable housing category cap, cutting processing time for housing applications under partial guarantee scheme, and expanding credit reach to small exporters, they added.

The task force will identify and revive stalled projects while the recent circular by the National Housing Board (NHB), prohibiting interest subvention for housing loans, would be under review.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman might also lift the affordable housing category cap in metro cities from the present Rs 45 lakh to Rs 1 crore.

The development follows long-standing demands for regulatory and tax changes as the sector suffered a steady decline in demand and a sharp liquidity crunch over the past four years.

Sitharaman, in her budget, proposed "several reforms to promote rental housing … a model tenancy law to be finalised and circulated to the states."

While announcing the first set of economic measures on August 23, Sitharaman also promised two more packages. The expectations are stronger after the finance minister and Urban Development Minister Hardeep Puri met with industry representatives.

Apart from real estate, the other anticipated announcement is goods and service tax (GST) e-wallet provision for exporters, the report added.

In June, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that exporters should be able to take more and more export credit in foreign currency. The ministry is now looking at raising the share of foreign currency in total export credit much beyond the present level of about 50 per cent.

"The same has been forwarded to the RBI for consideration as its foreign exchange reserves can be used for providing a line of credit for swap to good banks for this purpose. This will result in cheaper foreign currency loans," a senior official said.

The ministry has also discussed in detail the possibility of easing norms for banks when it comes to lending export credit by extending the cap on banks from the present two percent, the official pointed out.

PRECIOUS-Gold holds near 6-year peak on slowdown fears, trade jitters

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* Silver hits highest level since April 2017

* Platinum scales near one-month high

* GRAPHIC-Gold in various currencies:

Aug 28 (Reuters) - Gold held close to a more than six-year high on Wednesday, after rising more than 1% in the previous session, as fears of a possible recession and the trade conflict between China and the United States drove investors to safe haven assets.

Spot gold XAU= was mostly unchanged at $1,542.71 per ounce, as of 1100 GMT. On Monday it touched $1,554.56, its highest since April 2013.

U.S. gold futures GCcv1 were steady at $1,551.90.

"There is some kind of consolidation at these price levels (around $1,550) and the market is assessing the next development in the U.S.-China trade saga

While there are expectations for monetary policy easing in the euro zone, inversion in U.S. Treasury yield curve increased hopes for further rates cuts by the U.S. central bankGold rose more than 1% on Tuesday as an inversion in the U.S. yield curve and disappointing U.S. economic data rekindled fears of a recession amid uncertainties around the trade dispute. US/ are beginning to think that the economy is not doing that well, there could be a possible recession, or more likely, a slowing economy, which means the Federal Reserve will have to cut rates and that supports gold," said John Sharma, an economist with National Australia Bank.

Federal funds futures FEDWATCH implied traders saw a 91% chance of a 25 basis-point rate cut by the U.S. central bank next month.Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday predicted a trade deal with China but optimism wilted after China's foreign ministry spokesperson dismissed claims of phone calls between the two sides. "if there are some sort of tangible signs that the (trade) talks are going to restart, or at least that they are getting there, it would be a risk-on outcome and we can see yields go higher and push gold a bit lower," said Ilya Spivak, senior currency strategist with DailyFx.

On the technical front, bullion's 14-day relative strength index (RSI) was around 70, indicating that the commodity was approaching overbought territory.

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GBP/USD Tumbles, No-Deal Brexit Risks Rise as UK Government Expected to Suspend Parliament

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GBP/USD Exchange Rate Slumps on Reports Government Will Prorogue Parliaments

The Pound US Dollar (GBP/USD) exchange rate is falling sharply today, on the back of reports that the UK government will seek to prorogue government.

At the time of writing the GBP/USD exchange rate is trading at around $1.2202 this morning, down around 0.6% from today’s opening levels.

How Will the Suspension of Parliament Impact the Pound (GBP)?

The Pound (GBP) has been met by a heavy sell-off this morning on the back of reports indicating that the UK government plans to prorogue parliament.

The BBC reports Boris Johnson’s government will ask the Queen to suspend parliament early next month, to allow the new administration to hold a Queen’s speech to outline the government’s future policy.

However this means that Parliament will sit for just a few days after MPs return from their summer recess, leaving MP’s little time to pass legislation to block a no-deal Brexit.

Sterling previously strengthened this week as opposition parties announced that they had agreed a strategy to prevent a no-deal Brexit through legislative measures.

These gains have effectively been wiped out today as the government’s move to prorogue parliament is thought to have greatly increase the chances of a no-deal Brexit.

Its likely Sterling will now face a sell-off bias over the next couple of months as UK politics become increasingly turbulent as the UK faces a cliff-edge Brexit.

Trade Uncertainties Continue to Influence the US Dollar (USD)

At the same time, movement in the US Dollar is a little more mixed in broader trade as a result of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the US-China trade dispute.

The US is currently set to raise tariffs on $300bn worth of goods from China from 10% to 15% on 1st September, with China due to respond with retaliatory tariffs of between 5% and 10% on $75 work of US goods.

Hopes of the two powers striking a deal on trade have fallen sharply in recent days after Donald Trump called for US companies to quit China.

The US Dollar has fluctuated in response as markets fear the dispute is pushing the US economy towards a recession and could prompt the Federal Reserve to introduce fresh stimulus measures in an effort to prevent this.

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Forex - Dollar Steadies; Pressure Remains Amid Inverted Yield Curves, Trade War

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 The U.S. dollar steadied on Wednesday in Asia after falling overnight amid Sino-U.S. trade uncertainties and an inversion of the U.S. yield curve. 

The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies was up 0.1% to 97.998 by 12:58 AM ET (04:58 GMT).

Developments in the trade dispute between the U.S. and China remained in focus. U.S. President Donald Trump claimed Monday that Chinese officials had called and offered to resume negotiations, but Beijing claimed the next day that it is not aware the phone call took place. 

Tensions between the two sides escalated late last week after both the U.S. and China announced new tariff measures and Trump appeared to threaten to use emergency powers to force U.S. companies to stop making goods in China.

Meanwhile, the yield on the benchmark 2-year Treasury note fell to 1.526% overnight, creating an “inverted yield curve,” a phenomenon that has presaged several past U.S. recessions and sparked concerns among traders.

The AUD/USD pair slipped 0.2% to 0.6737, continuing its downward momentum after Reserve Bank of Australia Deputy Governor Guy Debelle said a weakening domestic currency was supporting the economy and that further falls would be beneficial.

A bleaker economic outlook in China, Australia's largest trading partner, was also cited as headwind for the Aussie dollar.

The NZD/USD pair fell 0.4% to 0.6335.

The USD/JPY pair rose 0.1%.

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Forex - Yen Gains Ground as Trade War Fears Linger

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The yen gained ground against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday as concerns over the latest escalation in the protracted Sino- U.S. trade war underpinned demand for safe haven assets.

Global markets have been whipsawed by developments in the trade dispute this month. U.S. President Donald Trump claimed Monday that Chinese officials had called and offered to resume negotiations, an assertion that China declined to confirm.

His comments helped temper sharp losses in global markets after both sides announced new tariffs on Friday. But concerns remain about a lack of a clear path toward resolving the dispute which has seen the global economic outlook deteriorate.

The dollar was down 0.37% against the yen at 105.72 by 04:02 AM ET (08:02 GMT).

The yen, which tends to be bought in times of economic uncertainty, also rose around 0.6% versus the Australian and New Zealand dollars.

The U.S. dollar index measuring the greenback against a basket of six major currencies was down 0.17% at 97.81.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields fell to 1.51%. The yield curve was inverted as 2-year yields traded at 1.53%, which is commonly considered a sign of an impending economic recession.China’s onshore yuan fell to a fresh eleven-and-a-half year low, amid worries that the economy is suffering from the ongoing trade dispute.

The euro was little changed at 1.1106.

The British pound traded at 1.2243, after a 0.5% fall on Monday as investors reassessed whether British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had made any progress in convincing the European Union to renegotiate the Brexit agreement.

Johnson said on Monday he was prepared to take Brexit talks with the European Union down to the very last minute before the Oct. 31 exit deadline, and if necessary to take a decision to leave without a deal on that day.

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