FOREX-Offshore yuan falls to record low, yen firm on intensifying trade frictions

By Hideyuki Sano

* Offshore yuan briefly hits record low

* Aussie near Jan low, yen at 7-month high

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, Aug 5 (Reuters) - The offshore Chinese yuan fell to its weakest level on record on Monday while the Australian dollar flirted with this year's lows on concerns over a sharp escalation in the Sino-U.S. trade war.

The broadening fallout of the trade dispute saw many investors seeking cover in perceived safe-haven assets, including the yen and gold. The Japanese currency rose to a seven-month peak as U.S. bond yields plunged, with the 10-year yield at near 3-year lows, also pressured by slowing U.S. jobs growth.

The offshore yuan briefly fell to as low as 6.9875 per dollar on EBS, its weakest since the start of offshore trading, but quickly bounced back to 6.9793 to be flat on the day.

China on Friday vowed to fight back against U.S. President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to slap 10% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports, a move that ended a month-long trade truce.

"China will likely take a decent size of stimulus to counter the impact of U.S. tariff, so I would not expect serious impact on the Chinese economy," said Yukio Ishizuki, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.

"The risk-off mood will stay for now but I expect markets to gradually start consolidation," he said.

The Australian dollar slipped 0.14% to $0.6791, having hit seven-month low of $0.67625 on Friday. The currency wasn't far off its Jan. 3 flash-crash low of $0.6715.

The kiwi fell 0.21% to $0.6521, having touched 1-1/2-month lows of $0.6506 of Friday, pulled down by rising expectations that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will cut interest rates on Wednesday.

The U.S. dollar was on the back foot against traditional safe-haven currencies.

The yen extended its advance to 106.31 yen to the dollar , down 0.29% from late U.S. levels while the Swiss franc gained 0.2% to 0.9799 per dollar.

The euro also rose 0.11% to $1.1119, extending its recovery from two-year low of $1.1027 touched on Thursday.

On Friday, the closely-watched U.S. employment data showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 164,000 jobs in July, fewer than the prior month, and wages increased modestly.

The data cemented expectations that the Federal Reserve will deliver another interest rate cut in September after it delivered its first rate reduction in more than a decade last month. (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano Editing by Shri Navaratnam)