USA dollar near 5-month low vs yen amid geopolitical risk

Posted April 12, 2017

The dollar index, which gauges the USA currency against a basket of six major peers, was slightly higher on the day at 100.98.

Geopolitical tensions were in focus, with attention on North Korea and Syria.

US Treasury yields fell for a second straight day as anxiety increased.

The Federal Reserve's plans to raise USA interest rates gradually are aimed at sustaining full employment and near-2-percent inflation without letting the economy overheat, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Monday, reinforcing the central bank's message and offering no fresh clues on the policy outlook. The benchmark 10-year yield, which wallowed at its lowest levels since November on Friday, last stood at 2.384 percent US10YT=RR in Asian trading, up from its US close of 2.373 percent.

Investors also appeared to remain on the sidelines ahead of the start of the first-quarter earnings season, which begins in earnest on Thursday when three big US banks report.

The yen, a safe-haven currency, was one of the main gainers of the session, benefitting from the "flight to safety", as USD/JPY slumped by 1% to 109.81.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said on Tuesday that President Bashar al-Assad's reign in Syria was "coming to an end" and warned that Russian Federation was at risk of becoming irrelevant in the Middle East by continuing to support him. The strike drew sharp criticism from Russian Federation, and questions from USA allies about future policy.

"But there is position-squaring whenever risk aversion rises", he said.

Spot gold XAU= advanced 0.15 percent to $1,256.70 an ounce in early trade.

On top of political concerns investors also have last Friday's weak USA payroll number weighing on them ahead of the first-quarter GDP report next week, according to Christopher, who says stocks have already priced in the year's economic growth. White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said on Sunday that the move was a "prudent" step. Job growth slowed sharply in March amid inclement weather, and as layoffs continued in the retail sector, but the unemployment rate dropped to a almost 10-year low of 4.5 percent. This situation might neutralise hike in USA interest rates.

For weeks, polls have shown centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen on track to top the first round of voting on April 23 and go through to a May 7 runoff. But recent polls have shown the race tightening.

The dollar extended earlier losses against the yen, slipping 0.3 percent to 110.63 Japanese yen, moving further away from its overnight high of 111.57.