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Australian Dollar Hit as China Turns Back on Coal Imports

The Australian dollar fell about 0.5% on Tuesday after reports that China has halted coal imports from the country as their relations deteriorate while the U.S. dollar recovered from a three-week low plumbed the day before.

The dollar index against a basket of currencies edged up 0.2% to 93.25 from Monday's low after Chinese authorities appeared to be trying to put a brake on recent rises in the yuan, one of the basket's components.

Against its main rival, the euro, the dollar rose 0.3% at 1.1785. News that a Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 study was paused due to an unexplained illness in a participants contributed to a modest dollar rise.

But the U.S. currency’s safe-haven appeal was limited by growing expectations former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s win in the Nov. 3 presidential election would bring large stimulus for the pandemic-hit economy, bolstering the stock market and investor risk appetite.

The Australian dollar was last down by 0.5% at 0.7176 against the greenback as the country's key export commodity came under threat. It also fell 0.4% against the New Zealand dollar and the Japanese yen.

State-owned utilities and steel mills in China received verbal notice from China’s customs to stop importing Australian thermal and coking coal with immediate effect.

Analysts, however, said both the country and its currency should weather the storm.

Kerry Craig, global market strategist at J. P. Morgan Asset Management, noted that it is easier to find another supplier for thermal coal than it is for coking coal, making it difficult to substitute Australian coking coal.

“There is still a clear symbiotic relationship between the two nations in as much as Australia is still reliant on exports to China and China is reliant on the higher quality coal and iron ore from Australia while it rebuilds its economy,” Craig said.

Kit Juckes, macro strategist at Societe Generale, said the Aussie dollar should also remain supported by Australia’s strong fiscal stimulus.

The Chinese yuan was stable at 6.7410 per dollar in the offshore market, after the central bank set a weaker than forecast midpoint, offseting any boost from strong Chinese trade data.

China’s central bank also announced over the weekend the removal of reserve requirements for some foreign exchange forwards, cementing speculation Beijing wants to curb the yuan’s strength.

Elsewhere, the British pound fell 0.3% against the U.S. dollar at $1.3030, but was neutral against the euro at 90.46 pence.

Reporting by Olga Cotaga; Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Tomasz Janowski

Source: Reuters

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