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Dollar stable with eased trade tensions

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The U.S. dollar was modestly higher on Thursday as news Washington and Beijing were discussing negotiations in September eased anxieties about the ongoing trade war.

The world's two largest economies are in talks about the next round of face-to-face meetings, but hopes for progress hinge on whether Washington can create favorable conditions, China's commerce minister said on Thursday. He also expressed hope the United States would cancel the additional tariffs set to go into effect on Sept. 1.

Thursday saw a slight bid for riskier assets, sending safe-havens such as the Japanese yen and Swiss franc lower and Treasury bond yields higher. The dollar index , which measures the currency against a basket of six rivals, has held up despite a dramatic escalation in tariffs last week, and was last up 0.20% to 98.406.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he would heap an additional duty of 5% on about $550 billion in targeted Chinese goods. The move came hours after China had unveiled retaliatory tariffs on $75-billion worth of U.S. goods.

"It looks like it's headed towards a quiet lack of agreement, as opposed to Twitter wars. With that quiet lack of agreement, it is probably enough to allow emerging currencies to stabilize as well as some of the commodity currencies like CAD and Aussie," said Gregory Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets.

Against the greenback, the yen was 0.31% weaker to 106.44, but was on track for a more than 2% rise against the dollar for the month of August.

The dollar was little moved by news Thursday the U.S. economy slowed slightly more than expected in the second quarter, despite the strongest growth in consumer spending in 4-1/2 years.

"The numbers were pretty close to on the screws so in the major exchange rates we didn't see much of a reaction," Anderson said.

Sterling remained in the spotlight after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to suspend parliament raised the odds of a no-deal Brexit. The British currency edged 0.16% lower to $1.2189, approaching a January 2017 low below $1.2015.

"Brexit is a big deal. We've got a big week next week on that issue. And I think that increasingly it will be the factor that drives markets as opposed to U.S.-China trade spat headlines," said Anderson.