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Coronavirus second wave fears boost yen; Aussie dollar falls after data

The Japanese yen strengthened slightly on Thursday as growing concerns about a rise in new coronavirus cases underpinned safe-haven demand for the currency, while the U.S. dollar was little changed versus the euro.

Some 400 workers have tested positive for the new coronavirus at an abattoir in northern Germany, prompting the closure of local schools and an urgent investigation, officials said on Wednesday.

More than 8.36 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 447,985​ have died, a Reuters tally found.

A surge in new coronavirus infections in several U.S. states and the imposition of travel curbs in Beijing to stop a new outbreak there have served as a reminder of the risks of re-opening economic activity before a vaccine has been developed.

The Japanese yen was last trading up 0.1% at 106.88 after touching a six-day high of 106.70 in the Asian trading session.

The Australian dollar fell after data showed the economy shed twice as many jobs as expected in May, highlighting the damage caused by lockdown restrictions imposed by the government to contain the outbreak. The Aussie dollar was last down 0.2% at 0.6864.

An index tracking the dollar against a basket of currencies was unchanged at 97.03. The euro was also little changed against the greenback at $1.1249. The common currency has lost nearly 1% of its value in less than a week as investors questioned whether the European Union would be able to pass the ambitious stimulus plan as proposed by the European Commission given that some countries are against giving the aid as grants.

Elsewhere, the British pound traded in a narrow range before a Bank of England meeting when policymakers are expected to expand quantitative easing in the face of a weakening economy and tough trade negotiations with the EU.

The BOE is expected to boost its quantitative easing programme by 100 billion pounds ($125 billion), with some analysts predicting an even larger increase. Sterling was last 0.2% lower at $1.2532 and 0.3% lower against the euro at 89.80 pence.

Coronavirus second wave fears boost yen; Aussie dollar falls after data, Reuters, Jun 18

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