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FOREX-Respite for dollar from solid US data; political storms rage on

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    • Dollar index trades above 6-month lows
    • Philadelphia Fed factory activity index jumps in May
    • Yen, Swiss franc trade below this week's highs
    • Brazil's real nursing losses after overnight slide

    SINGAPORE, May 19 (Reuters) - The dollar traded above six-month lows against a basket of six major peers on Friday, having gained some reprieve as solid U.S. economic data helped temper a sell-off triggered by political tumult in Washington.

    The safe haven Swiss franc and Japanese yen pulled back from the week's highs as risk aversion eased somewhat, with U.S. equities edging higher on Thursday helped by strong economic data.

    New applications for U.S. jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week and the number of Americans on unemployment benefits tumbled to a 28-1/2-year low.

    The Philadelphia Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region jumped to 38.8 in May from 22.0 in April.

    The dollar last traded at 97.814 against the index .DXY of six major peers, having climbing from Wednesday's trough at 97.333, its lowest level since Nov. 9.

    The dollar index is down more than 1.4 percent so far this week, putting it on track for its biggest weekly slide since July 2016.

    The greenback has been bruised this week by concerns that political turmoil in Washington could delay efforts by U.S. President Donald Trump to implement his economic stimulus plans.

    Trump, striking a defiant tone on Thursday after days of political tumult, denied colluding with Russia during his 2016 campaign or asking former FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe into disgraced former national security advisor Mike Flynn.

    Against the yen, the dollar eased 0.1 percent to 111.39 JPY= . That was still well above Thursday's low of 110.24 yen, the dollar's lowest level since late April.

    Against the Swiss franc, the dollar held steady at 0.9797 CHF= , with the greenback having bounced from Thursday's six-month low of 0.9759.

    The focus will remain on the U.S. political turmoil, which could continue to weigh on the dollar for now, analysts said.

    "It hasn't gone away...and so the market will be swayed by any related headlines," said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore.

    The Brazilian real BRL= BRBY nursed its losses after slumping 8 percent on Thursday as allegations that President Michel Temer condoned bribes to silence a key witness undermined investor optimism in the prospects for Temer's ambitious pension and labour reform agenda.

    The real last stood at 3.3685 per U.S. dollar.

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