Dollar holds gains

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    SINGAPORE- The dollar clung to gains on Monday and the Japanese yen edged higher as softening US economic data and rising global coronavirus cases kept investors cautious, while lockdowns and Italian political turmoil held the euro under pressure.

    The euro dipped to a six-week low of $1.2066 in Asia and fell to a one-month low of 125.20 yen. The yen was last up about 0.2 percent at 103.70 per dollar and it also rose on the risksensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars.

    The Antipodeans were soft against the greenback and the Aussie touched a one-week trough of $0.7679, while the kiwi hit a three-week low of $0.7117.

    Better-than-expected Chinese economic data headed off further selling, but was not enough to shift currency traders’ mood.

    The safety bid has added another layer of support for the dollar since the Democrats won control of US Congress a fortnight ago, which triggered a surge in yields as investors priced in bigger stimulus from a borrow-and-spend Biden administration.

    The mood soured after Friday data showed US retail sales fell for a third straight month in December, stoking worries that the recovery is running into trouble as health authorities warned that the worst of the latest COVID-19 wave might be yet to come.

    Europe is also facing surging cases and an Italian government that must survive crucial votes in parliament on Monday and Tuesday in order to cling to power.