* Graphics: World Currency Rates in 2020 https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
* Powell strikes negative rate speculation
* Aussie in focus before job data
* Coronavirus clouds economic prospects
By Stanley White
TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) – Dollar maintained gains against major currencies Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dismissed speculation that policy makers will adopt negative interest rates.
The Australian dollar was under pressure before closely monitoring job market data, which could help determine how much more monetary and fiscal relief is needed to support the economy.
The focus will shift to economic data from the United States and Europe over the next two days to get more clues into the depth of the downturn there, while investors will be closely watching China’s activity meters for signs of how long it may take to get from the sharp shocks caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“The dollar managed to bounce back after Powell’s comments about negative rates, but now the bias of the dollar is relatively neutral,” said Takuya Kanda, general manager of the research department at the Gaitame.com Research Institute in Tokyo.
“There may be some safe-haven flows into the dollar, but everyone faces the same financial problems caused by the coronavirus.”
The dollar was trading at $ 1.0818 against the euro on Thursday after a 0.3% rise in the previous session.
Against the pound, the greenback was listed at $ 1.2238, close to a five-week high.
The dollar bought Swiss Franc 0.92222 after gaining 0.3% on Wednesday.
Greenback was slightly changed at 106.91 yen.
Powell became the latest in a parade of policy makers to abolish the notion that they might be pushing interest rates into negative territory after Fed futures began pricing a small chance for the U.S. rates within the next year.
“The committee’s views on negative prices have really not changed. This is not something we are looking at,” Powell said Wednesday, referring to the Fed’s policy-developing Federal Open Market Committee.
Powell spoke in response to a question after offering a sober assessment of the U.S. economic outlook in a closely monitored speech.
The United States and other countries ease restrictions on allowing factories and stores to reopen for business, but there are significant risks to another wave of infections, and a full-fledged economic recovery is likely to remain distant until a coronavirus vaccine is available.
U.S. data on weekly unemployment claims due later Thursday and a U.S. study Manufacturing due Friday should offer more clues about the economic outlook.
The Australian dollar eased easily to $ 0.6449, as traders accounted for data at. 0130 GMT was expected to show a large rise in unemployment (the Reuters study expected 575,000) due to the coronavirus pandemic, which would strengthen expectations for further stimulus measures.
Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand dollar traded at $ 0.5991. Kiwi fell by more than 1% Wednesday after Reserve Bank of New Zealand highlighted the possibility of negative interest rates.
The New Zealand government is expected to present its budget later today, which will offer tax incentives to offset the economic damage caused by the pandemic. Many investors are awaiting China’s release on Friday of industrial production, retail and investment data to measure how fast the world’s second-largest economy is recovering after its first contraction in decades in the first quarter.
The new coronavirus first appeared in China late last year and has since spread across the globe, crippling economic activity.
Dealers in euros are also focused on releasing preliminary quarterly data on gross domestic product on Friday to assess the extent of damage caused by the outbreak. (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Kim Coghill)