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Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Dollar, Yen Gain Amid U.S. Fiscal Cliff, Europe Concerns
By Mariko Ishikawa and Monami Yui - Nov 8, 2012 9:17 AM GMT+0400
The dollar and yen remained stronger against most major peers as investors sought refuge assets amid concern re-elected President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress will struggle to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
The euro traded near a two month-low ahead of a European Central Bank meeting today after ECB President Mario Draghi said Europe’s debt crisis is affecting Germany. A report today is forecast to show exports in Europe’s largest economy declined in September. The greenback remained weaker against the Japanese currency after Obama’s victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney boosted expectations the Federal Reserve will maintain monetary stimulus.
The dollar fetched $1.2754 per euro as of 9:19 a.m. in Tokyo from $1.2771 yesterday, when it touched $1.2737, the strongest since Sept. 7. The U.S. currency slid 0.1 percent to 79.90 yen after declining 0.4 percent yesterday. The euro lost 0.3 percent to 101.90 yen. Photographer: Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg
“The biggest focus of the market as we head into year-end will be the fiscal cliff,” said Noriaki Murao, the New York- based managing director of the marketing group at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., referring to the $607 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to be implemented in 2013 unless Congress acts. “Investors are buying safe currencies such as the dollar and yen.”
The dollar added 0.2 percent to $1.2750 per euro as of 2:14 p.m. in Tokyo from yesterday, when it touched $1.2737, the strongest since Sept. 7. The U.S. currency lost 0.2 percent to 79.88 yen after declining 0.4 percent to close at 80 yesterday. The euro touched 101.75 yen, the lowest since Oct. 15, before trading at 101.85, 0.3 percent below yesterday’s close.
Romney had said he disagreed with the Fed’s measures to stimulate the economy and would replace Chairman Ben S. Bernanke at the end of the latter’s term in January 2014. U.S. policy makers unveiled a plan in September to buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities every month in a third round of so- called quantitative easing after $2.3 trillion purchases of bonds from December 2008 and June 2011.
The Dollar Index (DXY), which IntercontinentalExchange Inc. uses to track the greenback against currencies of six U.S. trading partners, rose 0.1 percent to 80.841. It yesterday touched 80.924, the highest since Sept. 7.
“What we’re seeing now is a post-election bounce in the U.S. dollar,” Khoon Goh, a senior currency strategist in Singapore at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ), said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “The fiscal cliff will be the near-term focus for markets which will cause jitters.”
Demand for the euro was limited before the ECB meeting and economic data today which may add to evidence Europe’s debt crisis is hampering growth. All but one of 63 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expect the central bank to keep its benchmark interest rateunchanged at 0.75 percent.
“While a rate cut is unlikely, we should certainly expect some dovish commentary from ECB President Draghi at the post meeting press conference,” Ray Attrill, Sydney-based global co- head of currency strategy at National Australia Bank Ltd., wrote in a note to clients today.
Draghi said at a conference in Frankfurt yesterday that while Germany has been largely insulated from difficulties elsewhere in the euro area “the latest data suggest that these developments are now starting to affect the German economy.”
German exports, adjusted for work days and seasonal changes, probably declined 1.5 percent in September from the previous month, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden releases figures today.
The euro remained weaker even after Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras secured approval of austerity measures needed to unlock bailout funds. The bill on pension, wage and benefit cuts was approved with 153 votes in favor in the 300-seat Parliament early today, according to acting Parliament speaker Athanasios Nakos.
“The Greek approval of austerity measures was not enough to turn the sentiment around for the euro,” said Kengo Suzuki, a currency strategist in Tokyo at Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (8411),Japan’s third-largest bank by market value. “There is still uncertainty whether or not Greece will be able to secure the next tranche of aid at the next European Union summit. The yen and the dollar are being bought in a bid for safety.”
The euro declined 0.8 percent over the past week, according to Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes, which track 10 developed-nation currencies. The dollar rose 0.9 percent in the same period, while the yen gained 1.2 percent, the best performer.
The so-called Aussie dollar rose against most of its major peers after data showed Australian employers added more jobs in October than economists estimated.
The number of people employed in Australia increased by 10,700 last month after rising a revised 15,500 in September, the statistics bureau said today. That compares with economist forecast in a Bloomberg survey of a gain of 500.
The Aussie touched NZ$1.2748, the highest since Sept. 17, before trading at NZ$1.2739, 0.2 percent above yesterday’s close. It was unchanged at $1.0408.
Today’s data from Australia “was stronger than expected,” said Sue Trinh, a Hong Kong-based senior currency strategist at Royal Bank of Canada. “It’s no surprise to see the Aussie outperforming across the board.”