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FOREX-Dollar inches higher on concerns of contested U.S. election

·4 min read

* Debate confirms uncertain election outlook, boosts dollar * U.S. private employment rises in September * U.S. GDP final estimate shows steep contraction * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E (Adds new comments, FX table, U.S. data, updates prices) By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The dollar edged higher on Wednesday after a two-day fall, as Tuesday's highly contentious debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden reinforced concerns about a possible contested outcome of the upcoming presidential election. The dollar index rose above the 94 mark against a basket of currencies after two days of losses that followed the U.S. currency reaching a two-month high last week. Trump and Biden battled fiercely over Trump's record on the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare and the economy in a chaotic and bad-tempered first debate marked by personal insults and Trump's repeated interruptions. "The debate just confirmed that the election would be pretty much contested, if it's anywhere close," attracting safe-haven bids for the dollar, said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York. "People are going to wonder how long would it be until we get the final result." The greenback was also boosted by quarter-end and month-end portfolio rebalancing, analysts said. Demand for dollars tends to rise at the end of quarters as portfolio rebalancing and fund transfers require currencies like the euro and sterling to be converted to dollars. U.S. economic data was also for the most part dollar-supportive. U.S. private employers stepped up hiring in September, with private payrolls increasing by 749,000 jobs this month, the ADP National Employment Report showed on Wednesday. Data for August was revised up to show 481,000 jobs added instead of the initially reported 428,000. "Overall, employment growth appears to be slowing gradually, but remains more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate on a downward trend," said Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. "That said, with employment still more than 10 million below its pre-pandemic level, a full labor market recovery remains a long way off." Gross domestic product, however, plunged at a 31.4% annualized rate in the second quarter, the deepest drop in output since the government started keeping records in 1947, the Commerce Department said in its third estimate of GDP. The euro was down 0.3% against the dollar at $1.1712. Overall the dollar was set for its worst quarter since the spring of 2017 with a fall of about 3.3% as hopes for a swift recovery from the COVID-19 economic crash made investors exit safe havens and buy into riskier currencies. The dollar rose 0.3% against the Swiss franc to 0.9223 and was little changed versus the yen at 105.66 yen . ======================================================== Currency bid prices at 10:22AM (1422 GMT) Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid Previous Change Session Euro/Dollar EUR= $1.1724 $1.1742 -0.15% +4.59% +1.1755 +1.1686 Dollar/Yen JPY= 105.6700 105.6400 +0.03% -2.93% +105.8000 +105.4400 Euro/Yen EURJPY= 123.89 124.05 -0.13% +1.59% +124.2400 +123.5600 Dollar/Swiss CHF= 0.9211 0.9192 +0.21% -4.83% +0.9244 +0.9191 Sterling/Dollar GBP= 1.2903 1.2861 +0.33% -2.69% +1.2908 +1.2807 Dollar/Canadian CAD= 1.3358 1.3387 -0.22% +2.86% +1.3420 +1.3354 Australian/Doll AUD= 0.7153 0.7127 +0.36% +1.87% +0.7157 +0.7101 ar Euro/Swiss EURCHF= 1.0801 1.0796 +0.05% -0.47% +1.0816 +1.0793 Euro/Sterling EURGBP= 0.9084 0.9127 -0.47% +7.45% +0.9157 +0.9084 NZ NZD= 0.6604 0.6586 +0.27% -1.96% +0.6612 +0.6570 Dollar/Dollar Dollar/Norway NOK= 9.4166 9.4185 -0.02% +7.29% +9.4944 +9.3926 Euro/Norway EURNOK= 11.0425 11.0617 -0.17% +12.24% +11.1141 +11.0390 Dollar/Sweden SEK= 8.9863 8.9580 +0.06% -3.85% +9.0343 +8.9533 Euro/Sweden EURSEK= 10.5368 10.5306 +0.06% +0.65% +10.5735 +10.5204 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Julien Ponthus in London)