US dollar ticks higher versus yen as confidence stays intact

Against the yen, the US dollar was 0.2 per cent higher at 109.53 yen. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - The United States dollar edged up slightly against the yen on Thursday (Dec 26) while risk-sensitive currencies held firm on hopes of easing trade tensions between the US and China and a pick up in the global growth.

Against the yen, the US dollar was 0.2 per cent higher at 109.53 yen and within a striking distance of a six-month high of 109.73 touched earlier this month. The euro barely moved at US$1.10905.

The Australian dollar was firm at US$0.6927, a shade below its four-month peak of US$0.6939 touched earlier this month while the kiwi traded at US$0.6648, near its highest level in five months.

Global currency markets remained in holiday mood following Christmas Day on Wednesday and with several centres still closed for Boxing Day on Thursday.

However, traders have taken a positive lead after Washington and Beijing struck to an interim agreement on trade earlier this month, which is expected to continue to underpin risk assets.

In currency markets, stronger risk appetite usually translates to more selling in safe-haven currencies, such as the yen, against currencies leveraged more to growth, particularly that in China, such as the Australian dollar.

"While global share prices have been rallying, the currency market has seen limited reaction so far but I think currencies will have a catch-up to do," said Koichi Kobayashi, chief manager of forex at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust Bank.

China says it is in close touch with the US on a trade deal signing ceremony, after US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping will have a ceremony to sign the recently struck trade deal.

The offshore yuan strengthened slightly to 6.9895 yuan per US dollar, up about 0.09 per cent.

Elsewhere, sterling traded at US$1.2996, up slightly from its levels before Christmas holidays though still way below its Dec 13 peak of US$1.3516.

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