Yen and franc draw safe-haven bid on renewed growth fears


By Vatsal Srivastava

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The yen and the Swiss franc rose on Friday, as investors sought shelter in safe-haven assets due to renewed U.S.-China trade tensions and weaker-than-expected data in those two economies that revived global growth fears.

Reuters reported on Thursday that the Trump administration was considering an executive order in the new year to declare a national emergency that would bar U.S. companies from using products made by Chinese firms Huawei Technologies and ZTE (SZ:000063).

“With the end of 90-day tariff moratorium looming ominously on the horizon, this announcement is yet another bump in the rocky path to a trade resolution,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asian trading at Oanda in a note.

Trade tension between the world’s two largest economies has been one of this year’s biggest risk factors, though Washington and Beijing on Dec. 1 agreed to a 90-day ceasefire in their tariff dispute while they try to negotiate a durable deal.

Markets remain skeptical whether the two sides can bridge their differences, which go beyond trade to intellectual property rights and other issues.

In Asian trade on Friday, the yen <jpy=>added 0.4 percent against the dollar, while the Swiss franc <chf=>tacked on 0.3 percent as renewed growth fears pushed investors back into safe havens.</chf=></jpy=>

The anxiety in markets has helped these currencies this month put on 2.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

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