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FOREX-Yen near this year's lows as risk appetite improves

* Yen near this year's low on rising risk appetite

* Aussie at 1-1/2-month high as China data improves

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

TOKYO, April 15 (Reuters) - The yen hovered near its lowestlevel this year on Monday as more signs of stabilisation in theChinese economy and an upbeat start to the U.S. earnings seasonprompted investors to abandon the safe-haven currency to seekhigher returns elsewhere.

The dollar firmed to 112.02 yenJPY= , near Friday's highof 112.10, which was near its year-to-date high of 112.135touched in early March.

The safe-haven Swiss franc has also eased against the euro,which strengthened to 1.1329 francEURCHF= , recovering itslosses made late last month to hit a three-week high on thefranc.

The common currency traded at $1.1304EUR= , keeping intactits slow recovery from $1.1183 touched on April 2. It rose to ashigh as $1.1324 on Friday.

Chinese data published on Friday showed exports reboundedsharply and new bank loans increased far more than expected inMarch.

Although China's imports remained weak, the data on thewhole cemented hopes that the Chinese economy is bottoming outafter a soft patch as Beijing has curbed de-leveraging effortsand stepped up support for the economy in recent months.

U.S. stocks also rallied on Friday on strong earnings fromJPMorgan JPM.N and an 11.5-percent jump in Walt Disney CoDIS.N on news that it will start streaming services.

The S&P 500 index .SPX has reached its highest level insix months, coming within sight of testing a record high markedin September last year.

The more positive mood helped offset any concerns aboutupcoming trade talks between the United States and Japan, inwhich Washington is expected to include a currency provision ina bilateral trade agreement.

"We are seeing a classical risk-on market," said MinoriUchida, chief currency analyst at MUFG Bank.

But Uchida also believes the dollar's upside may be limited,given that speculators have already built up large longpositions in the U.S. currency.

Data from U.S. watchdog on Friday showed speculatorsbolstered their net long U.S. dollar position in the latestweek, pushing it to the highest since December 2015.

Against the yen, their net dollar long position was at thehighest in about three months.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar stood at $0.7173AUD=D4 ,having hit a 1-1/2-month high of $0.71925.

The British pound fetched $1.3080GBP=D4 , stuck in itsrecent trading range as fears of a no-deal Brexit have recededfor now. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((hideyuki.sano@thomsonreuters.com; +81 3 6441 1827; ReutersMessaging: hideyuki.sano.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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