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FOREX-Chinese yuan surrenders some gains; yen climbs as growth fears return
Published at 14/08/2019 at 09:46

* Chinese yuan weak after one-week jump the day before

* Japanese yen retraces losses to trade higher

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019

(Adds minor changes to context)

By Olga Cotaga

LONDON, Aug 14 (Reuters) - China's offshore yuan gave up some of its earlier gains on Wednesday as weaker-than-expected economic data tempered the optimism generated by a U.S. decision to delay tariffs on Chinese imports.

The enthusiasm ebbed more broadly, as well. The safe-haven Japanese yen strengthened again, a sign that risk appetite remains fragile. The yen fell on Tuesday after the U.S, announcement.

The fall in the yuan and the rise in yen mirrored analysts' views that the delay in tariffs, although encouraging, wasn't even close to resolving the U.S.-China trade war.

Chinese economic data, meanwhile, showed that the world's second-largest economy continued to slow. Industrial output rose in July at the slowest pace in more than 17 years.

"The lack of visibility on trade war outlook means that yesterday's price action (rise in yuan, fall in yen) is unlikely to translate into a long-lasting trend," ING analysts said, urging clients not to "get carried away".

The offshore yuan had jumped to a one-week high against the dollar on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump backed off his Sept. 1 deadline for imposing 10% tariffs on remaining Chinese imports, delaying duties on cellphones, laptops and other consumer goods. The announcement came after renewed trade discussions between U.S. and Chinese officials.

But it fell back 0.4% against the dollar to 7.0360

, still more than 7 to the dollar, the level it reached last week when the 10% tariffs were announced.

China fixed the onshore yuan at 7.03, "the only sign so far of China making any concessions" to the United States, said Esther Reichelt, an analyst at Commerzbank.

The Japanese yen rose 0.4% against the dollar to 106.33

, up from Tuesday's one-week low point.

"The mid-term trend is for yen gains, because the United States has not changed its tough stance on China," said Shuntaro Ikeshima, chief manager of forex and financial products trading at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Co.

"There was a lot of short-covering overnight, but in Asia the market quickly ran into real demand to buy yen. Once you added the Chinese data, this managed to keep the yen firm."

Elsewhere, major currencies were little changed. The dollar index, which is down around 1% since the start of August, was flat around 97.8 . Investors were watching the Treasury yield curve, which is close to inverting for the first time since 2007.

An inversion of the curve, when short-dated bonds yield more than longer-dated, is a recession warning.

The euro was flat at $1.1180 despite weaker second-quarter German gross domestic product data. Moreover, the year-on-year figure was higher than economists polled by Reuters predicted.

Traders are waiting for the first estimate of eurozone GDP data, due at 0900 GMT. A Reuters poll forecasts that second-quarter GDP growth remained unchanged at 0.2% quarter-on-quarter and at 1.1% year-on-year.

Sterling was also steady, last flat at $1.2056 , and little changed against the euro at 92.73 pence . However, current levels suggest investors aren't willing to take the pound away from the multi-year lows it reached last week.

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Yuan ticks lower China industrial output US 2-10 yield curve

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(Reporting by Olga Cotaga; aditional reporting by Stanley White; editing by Larry King)

((olga.cotaga@thomsonreuters.com))