Yen rallies, rand and Aussie stumble as new variant spurs flight to safety By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An image illustration of U.S. greenback, Swiss Franc, British pound and Euro financial institution notes, taken in Warsaw January 26, 2011. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

By Kevin Buckland

OTTAWA (Reuters) – The safe-haven yen rallied whereas the South African rand and risk-sensitive Australian greenback slumped on Friday, as traders ducked for canopy following the invention of a new coronavirus variant that would resist present vaccines.

The yen leapt as a lot as 0.64% to 114.595 per greenback, and fellow haven the Swiss franc rose as a lot as 0.33% to 0.9330 per greenback after South African scientists found the B.1.1.529 variant spreading within the nation. The variant has a cluster of mutations that will assist it evade the physique’s immune response and make it extra transmissible. It has since been present in Botswana and in Hong Kong.

The rand dropped 1.62% to a greater than one-year trough at 16.24 per greenback, whereas the and New Zealand {dollars} slumped to three-month lows at $0.7135 and $0.6818, respectively.

“COVID worries are definitely playing a role in increasing demand for safe havens including the yen, and because South Africa is the location of this new variant, that’s an obvious reason to avoid the rand,” stated Shinichiro Kadota, senior FX strategist at Barclays (LON:) in Tokyo.

Britain has rushed to introduce journey restrictions on South Africa and neighbouring Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini. Sterling slipped to a new 11-month low of $1.3299.

However, the euro rose 0.15% to $1.1222, recovering after hitting its lowest in practically 17 months earlier within the week at $1.1186. Germany is contemplating following Austria’s lead and reimposing a COVID-19 lockdown with the continent as soon as once more the epicentre of the pandemic.

Gains for the yen, franc and euro pushed the – which measures the dollar towards these and three different currencies – additional away from Wednesday’s 96.938, its highest in practically 17 months. It final traded at 96.707

But the index remained up 0.72% on the week, nonetheless headed for its fifth straight weekly advance.

Traders have ramped up bets that an more and more hawkish Federal Reserve will carry charges by the center of subsequent 12 months, whereas central banks in Europe, Japan and elsewhere stick to extra dovish stances.

“If the COVID situation worsens, then dollar-yen could go down further, but otherwise the monetary policy divergence is definitely going to be weighing on the yen in the medium term,” stated Kadota, who predicts dollar-yen will strengthen to 116 and past by the center of subsequent 12 months.

On the flip aspect, 114 ought to present a flooring for the foreign money pair within the close to time period, “unless the world really changes for the worse,” he stated.

Last week, Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda reiterated his dedication to huge financial stimulus, including that the central financial institution stands prepared to ramp it up additional if crucial.

Overnight, minutes from the European Central Bank’s October assembly confirmed most policymakers leaning towards continued stimulus and a cautious strategy to any coverage modifications, regardless of the strain from heated inflation.

By distinction, cash markets are pricing for a Fed price hike by July, with good odds it might are available June.

A doubtlessly essential signpost for U.S. coverage route is due subsequent Friday, with the discharge of month-to-month payrolls figures.

“Medium term, we continue to favour the USD,” Jane Foley, senior FX strategist at Rabobank, wrote in a analysis be aware.

“However, with the market now long USD and short EUR and the money market very aggressively positioned for Fed rate hikes next year, there is scope for pullbacks in the currency pair,” with $1.15 a possible goal, and the payrolls report a possible set off, she stated.


Currency bid costs at 0451 GMT

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid

Previous Change



$1.1222 $1.1206 +0.15% -8.15% +1.1227 +1.1206


114.7150 115.3700 -0.62% +11.01% +115.3150 +114.6050


128.73 129.29 -0.43% +1.43% +129.3300 +128.5900


0.9328 0.9356 -0.28% +5.46% +0.9359 +0.9330


1.3305 1.3318 -0.08% -2.60% +1.3322 +1.3299


1.2712 1.2646 +0.55% -0.15% +1.2714 +1.2650


0.7141 0.7186 -0.61% -7.16% +0.7190 +0.7135


Dollar/Dollar 0.6825 0.6854 -0.36% -4.91% +0.6856 +0.6818

All spots

Tokyo spots

Europe spots


Tokyo Forex market data from BOJ

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