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FOREX-Safe-haven yen, Swiss franc advance as virus fears snowball

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

* Offshore yuan stabilizes after breaching 7 per dollar * Aussie, Kiwi extend losses to new multi-month lows * Death toll from virus rises to 213, all in China * Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh (Adds new comment, updates prices) By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss NEW YORK, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The safe-haven yen and Swiss franc jumped to multiweek highs on Friday as worries about the global economic impact of the latest coronavirus outbreak in China intensified. The yen rose to a three-week high against the dollar, while the Swiss franc climbed to a two-week peak. The Australian dollar fell to a four-month low against the U.S. dollar, while China's offshore yuan struggled to find a footing in the wake of the virus outbreak. The World Health Organization said late Thursday that the coronavirus outbreak was a global emergency, prompting the United States and other countries to tighten travel curbs on Friday. All three major U.S. airlines -- United Airlines Holdings Inc, Delta Air Lines Inc, and American Airlines Group Inc -- announced the cancellation of flights to mainland China on Friday after the U.S. State Department elevated a travel advisory over concerns about the coronavirus. "When we take a look at the overall picture heading into the week, there was some optimism that we could still see strong earnings. There's anticipation that eventually we're going to see a trickle-down effect of the Phase 1 trade deal with China," said Edward Moya, senior market strategist at OANDA in New York. "Right now, none of that matters. It's all about the virus and its impact on the Chinese economy and its trading partners," he added. U.S. data on consumer spending and personal income did push the dollar a little higher against the yen and euro earlier, as core consumer prices as measured by the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index rose 0.2% last month after advancing just 0.1% the previous four months. But the U.S. data's impact was short-lived. Investors remained transfixed on the casualties from the virus and feared its impact on the global economy, including businesses such as airlines and hotels. The death toll rose to 213 on Friday, all in China. The number of confirmed cases in China has risen beyond 9,800, Beijing's envoy to the United Nations in Vienna said, while some 131 cases have been reported in 23 other countries and regions. China's offshore yuan gave up earlier gains and was last down against the dollar. The U.S. currency added 0.1% to 6.9884, although that was some way off the 7.0038 level the yuan dropped to on Thursday. The dollar fell 0.5% against the yen to 108.35 yen in afternoon trading, after earlier dropping to a three-week low of 108.33 yen. The greenback also slid to a two-week trough versus the Swiss franc and was last at 0.9637 franc. The Australian and New Zealand dollars, both sensitive to sentiment in China, fell to new multimonth lows. The New Zealand dollar dropped 0.5% to US$0.6463, after earlier touching a two-month low. The Australian dollar lost 0.4% to US$0.6695, hitting a four-month low earlier. ======================================================== Currency bid prices at 3:17 PM (2017 GMT) Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid Previous Change Session Euro/Dollar EUR= $1.1088 $1.1030 +0.53% -1.09% +1.1090 +1.1018 Dollar/Yen JPY= 108.3500 108.9500 -0.55% -0.47% +109.1300 +108.3300 Euro/Yen EURJPY= 120.15 120.19 -0.03% -1.48% +120.3900 +120.0400 Dollar/Swiss CHF= 0.9632 0.9693 -0.63% -0.48% +0.9713 +0.9631 Sterling/Dollar GBP= 1.3200 1.3094 +0.81% -0.45% +1.3204 +1.3085 Dollar/Canadian CAD= 1.3234 1.3208 +0.20% +1.91% +1.3252 +1.3195 Australian/Doll AUD= 0.6693 0.6719 -0.39% -4.67% +0.6729 +0.6684 ar Euro/Swiss EURCHF= 1.0681 1.0695 -0.13% -1.58% +1.0706 +1.0677 Euro/Sterling EURGBP= 0.8400 0.8424 -0.28% -0.64% +0.8434 +0.8388 NZ NZD= 0.6464 0.6485 -0.32% -4.04% +0.6494 +0.6455 Dollar/Dollar Dollar/Norway NOK= 9.1951 9.1791 +0.17% +4.75% +9.2453 +9.1665 Euro/Norway EURNOK= 10.1978 10.1273 +0.70% +3.66% +10.2192 +10.1124 Dollar/Sweden SEK= 9.6251 9.6352 +0.44% +2.97% +9.6836 +9.6163 Euro/Sweden EURSEK= 10.6755 10.6291 +0.44% +1.97% +10.6901 +10.6225 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes in London; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)