* Graphics: World exchange rates in 2020 tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
* Powell strikes negative rate speculation
* Aussie wants for job data
* Coronavirus clouds economic prospects
By Stanley White
TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) – Dollar held gains against major currencies Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dismissed speculation that policy makers will adopt negative interest rates.
Among Asian currencies, the Australian dollar fell on data showing that the country discarded jobs in April at the fastest pace on the record, suggesting more monetary and fiscal relief may be needed to support the economy.
The focus will shift to economic data from the United States and Europe over the next two days for more clues about the depth of the downturn there, while investors will closely follow China’s activity meters for signs of how long it may take to recover from the sharp shock 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 traded at $ 1.0805 against the euro on Thursday after a 0.3% rise in the previous session.
Against the pound, the greenback rose to a five-week high of $ 1.2203.
The dollar bought 0.9733 Swiss francs after gaining 0.3% on Wednesday.
Powell is the latest in a parade of policy makers to interrupt the notion that they may 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 committees’ views on negative rates 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 fell 0.3% to $ 0.6437 after data showed unemployment rose by 594,300 in April, slightly more than the average estimate. Unemployment rose to a five-year high.
Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand Dollar fell 0.23% to $ 0.5987, adding a fall of more than 1% Wednesday after the New Zealand Reserve Bank highlighted the possibility of negative interest rates.
The New Zealand government unveiled a record fund of $ 50 billion ($ 30 billion) in its budget Thursday to restore an economy affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but warned it may not be enough to prevent thousands from losing jobs and businesses shut down.
The yen rose to 106.88 against the U.S. dollars when some traders bought the Japanese currency on risk aversion after Nikkei shares fell to a week low.
The yen also moved higher against the antipodean currencies and the euro.
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.
In the onshore market, the yuan eased slightly to 7.0990 per share. Dollar.
The new coronavirus originated 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 Sam Holmes and Stephen Coates)