TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar inched up in early Monday trade as riskier currencies slipped after negotiation on a U.S. stimulus package ran into resistance and as the yuan dropped after China’s central bank took a measure seen as aimed at curbing its strength.

The euro slipped 0.15% to $1.1818

while the Australian dollar shed 0.25% to $0.7223

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The yen was little changed at 105.65 to the dollar

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The U.S. dollar index edged up to 93.104 <=USD>, bouncing back from Friday’s near-three-week low of 92.997. The index saw its biggest loss in six weeks on Friday on hopes that a deal for new U.S. stimulus would be reached.

President Donald Trump on Friday offered a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package in talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – moving closer to Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion proposal.

But Trump’s offer drew criticism from several Senate Republicans, many of whom are uneasy about the nation’s growing debt and concerned a deal would cost Republicans support in the upcoming presidential election, denting the risk-on mood.

Still, with Nov. 3 election only weeks away, investors bet that Democrat Joe Biden is more likely to win the U.S. presidency and offer a larger economic package.

“On the whole, the big picture has not changed that much,” said Kyosuke Suzuki, director of forex at Societe Generale.

The offshore Chinese yuan dropped after the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said it will lower the reserve requirement ratio for financial institutions when conducting some foreign exchange forwards trading.

Analysts said the measure could keep the yuan’s strength in check by encouraging the use of forwards.

“The authorities have not stood in the way of yuan strength, but this move could be seen as a sign that they want to slow the pace of appreciation,”

(Bloomberg) — Northern Star Resources Ltd. agreed to buy smaller Australian rival Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd. to boost gold output amid surging prices and create a top 10 global producer with a market valuation of about A$16 billion ($11.5 billion).

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Adding Saracen’s assets in Australia will put the company on track to produce 2 million ounces a year from fiscal 2027 and deliver as much as A$2 billion in operational savings, Perth-based Northern Star, the country’s second-largest gold miner, said Tuesday in a statement.

The combination of the companies, which already jointly run Australia’s giant Super Pit may mark a revival of major deal-making in the gold sector, which has ebbed since a two-year long spree through last year that included Newmont Corp.’s mega-merger with Goldcorp Inc.

Deals in the sector worth about $9.8 billion have been completed, or agreed, so far this year, compared with about $26 billion in 2019, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Northern Star has added more than $1 billion of acquisitions since August 2018, the data show.



chart, bar chart: Deal Decline


© Bloomberg
Deal Decline

“Between both portfolios we’ve got so many growth options. We’re not planning to divest anything and in fact we’re growing our production,” Northern Star Executive Chairman Bill Beament said on an investor call. “We’ve got plenty of feed to keep our expanded processing plants going for decades to come.”

The producer will operate three clusters of assets, in the Kalgoorlie and Yandal regions of Western Australia and around the Pogo mine in Alaska, and be in a position to accelerate growth opportunities, according to the statement.

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Collaboration between the two companies this year at