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FOREX-Australian dollar sags on easing rates outlook, pound hobbled by Brexit anxiety


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* Aussie skids after dovish RBA minutes

* Pound under pressure as Johnson fans no-deal Brexitworries

* China-U.S. friction undermines Aussie

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh (Updates prices, adds analyst quote)

By Hideyuki Sano and Stanley White

TOKYO, June 18 (Reuters) - The Australian dollar on Tuesdayeased to its lowest levels since early January after thenation's central bank flagged a further rate cut, while theBritish pound was hobbled by rising worries of a no-deal Brexit

With markets focused on U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank ofJapan meetings later this week, traders latched on to minutes ofthe Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) June meeting which showedpolicymakers were prepared to cut rates once more to revivewages growth and inflation.

"The market is already pricing in two rate cuts (inAustralia), and there are some speculative moves to push theAussie lower," said Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategistat Daiwa Securities.

The RBA minutes sent the Aussie slumping to $0.6833, itslowest since the flash crash of early January. It was lastfetching $0.6837.

Markets are pricing in about 50% chance of another rate cutnext month by the RBA, which delivered its first easing inalmost three years just two weeks ago. RBAWATCH . The pound was under pressure after former foreign ministerBoris Johnson got a boost on Monday in his campaign to becomeprime minister as one of his former rivals and EU supporter MattHancock backed him. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N23O175

That rattled markets as Johnson, the face of the officialcampaign to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, haspromised to lead Britain out of the EU with or without a deal.

The pound, which tumbled to a 5-1/2-month low of $1.2532 onMonday, last traded at $1.2530GBP=D4 . It also fell to itsweakest level since January against the euro, which climbed to89.74 pence EURGBP=D4 , compared to a two-year low of 84.56touched just over a month ago.

The pound could be in for a rough ride in coming days, witha raft of potentially market-moving events ahead, includingconsumer inflation and retail sales data, due on Wednesday andThursday respectively, and the Bank of England's policyannouncement on Thursday.

The dollar eased slightly to 108.23 yenJPY= on Tuesday asa decline in Japanese stocks triggered about of risk aversion.

"The yen may have a little more room to rise if U.S. stockstake a hit and trigger a bout of risk aversion," DaiwaSecurities' Ishizuki said.

The dollar index measuring its value against six majorcurrencies also declined slightly to 97.446 .DXY , underminedby the New York Fed's business index fell this month by a recordto reach its weakest level in more than 2-1/2 years. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N23O0AN

The Fed's two-day policy meeting starting later on Tuesdayis the next major focus after markets have priced in more thantwo 25 basis-point rate cuts by year-end.

That marks a sharp contrast to the Fed's official forecastin March, which showed policymakers deemed the next move wouldbe a hike.

"As markets are now pricing in rate cuts in the second halfof this year, the question is how the Fed will respond to suchan outlook," said Shinichiro Kadota, senior strategist atBarclays.

The euro was little changed in Asia, trading at $1.1231EUR= . (Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((hideyuki.sano@thomsonreuters.com; +81 3 6441 1827; ReutersMessaging: hideyuki.sano.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))






This article appears in: Politics , Stocks , World Markets
Referenced Symbols: EUR



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