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Japanese Yen Rises Despite Positive Trade News; China Data Underperform

Investing.com - The Japanese yen rose on Wednesday in Asia despite positive trade news. Underperforming Chinese data and a political crisis in Hong Kong supported the safe-haven currency.

The USD/JPY pair fell 0.2% to 106.50 by 1:23 AM ET (05:23 GMT).

Tariffs on Chinese goods are being delayed to Dec. 15, while certain products are being removed due to “health, safety, national security and other factors,” a statement said overnight.

The tariffs were originally scheduled to come into effect in early September.

The news sent stock markets higher. The yen, which usually moves in directions opposite to most risk assets, also surprisingly rose.

The safe haven yen was already trading higher against the U.S. dollar overnight as investor sentiment was shaken by political unrest in Hong Kong.

On Tuesday, protesters managed to close down Hong Kong's airport for a second day. Overnight, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that the Chinese government is moving troops to the border with Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam said earlier this week that further violence involving protests could push the territory “down a path of no return”.

"If we think only about the United States and China, there could be more room for dollar gains and yen losses, but this does not mean trade frictions have been resolved," said Tohru Sasaki, head of Japan markets research at JP Morgan Securities in Tokyo, in a Reuters report.

"There are still a lot of geopolitical risks, such as Hong Kong, Brexit, and the Iranian situation. I don't expect significant (risk-on) moves."

Meanwhile, weaker-than-expected Chinese data also provided additional boost to the safe-haven yen.

Growth of Industrial production and retail sales both came in lower than expected, official data showed on Tuesday.

The Chinese yuan gained despite the data. The USD/CNY pair last traded at 7.0194, down 0.3%.

The U.S. Dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched up 0.1% to 97.678.

The AUD/USD pair and the NZD/USD pair were down 0.2% and 0.1% respectively.

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