Forex – Dollar holds steady vs. rivals amid tensions with Pyongyang

© Reuters. Dollar little changed vs. rivals as North Korea remains in focus – The dollar held steady against the other major currencies on Tuesday, as ongoing tensions with North Korea continued to dominate market sentiment.

The safe-haven yen and Swiss franc were higher, with USD/JPY down 0.29% at 109.39 and with USD/CHF easing 0.09% to trade at 0.9573.

Investors remained cautious following North Korea’s latest provocation, when it conducted over the weekend a test of a hydrogen bomb intended to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Sunday warned North Korea that any threat to the U.S. or its allies would be met with a “massive military response”.

On Monday, South Korea’s defense ministry said it was still seeing signs that Pyongyang plans to launch more ballistic missiles.

In other news, markets were also jittery as the U.S. Treasury Department has a September 29 deadline to raise the debt limit.

EUR/USD edged down 0.14% to 1.1880, while GBP/USD held steady at 1.2932.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were higher, with AUD/USD up 0.30% at 0.7968 and with NZD/USD adding 0.20% to 0.7176.

In widely expected move, the Reserve Bank of Australia held its benchmark interest rate at 1.50%.

Commenting on the decision, RBA Governor Philip Lowe said recent data had been consistent with the bank’s expectation that growth in the economy would gradually pick up in the coming year.

Also Tuesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said the current account surplus widened to A$9.6 billion in the second quarter from a revised A$4.8 billion in the first quarter of the year. Analysts had expected the current account surplus to hit A$8.1 billion in the last quarter.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD slipped 0.10% to trade at 1.2400, still close to Friday’s more than two-year low of 1.2339.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 92.60 by 03:40 a.m. ET (07:40 GMT).

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