Yen falls; US dollar slides vs commodity currencies

NEW YORK - The yen fell broadly on Monday while the U.S. dollar slid against commodity currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars as gains in equities and solid U.S. and euro zone economic data boosted risk sentiment.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Mon 24 Aug 2009, 7:44 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:29 AM

The market refocused on risk-taking in the wake of stronger-than-expected U.S. existing home sales data last Friday, upbeat comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Monday¡¯s data showing firmer industrial orders in the euro zone.

The low-yielding yen tends to fall against higher-yielding currencies when equities rise or economic data strengthens hopes for a recovery in the global economy.

But the dollar, which also usually declines when risk sentiment picks up, held its ground against some major currencies such as the euro and sterling.

¡°It¡¯s a risk-on day. The yen is weaker because of firmer equities overnight and improved risk appetite,¡± said Omer Esiner, senior market analyst at Travelex Global Business Payments in Washington.

While the dollar hasn¡¯t lost much ground against major European currencies, Esiner expects the the dollar ¡°to remain on the defensive against higher-yielders such as the Aussie and Kiwi (New Zealand dollar) including emerging market currencies.¡±

In early New York trading, the dollar was up 0.3 percent against the yen on the day at 94.69 yen , after briefly hitting a one-week high of 95.06 yen, according to Reuters data.

The euro was up 0.4 percent at 135.69 yen , but was flat on the day versus the dollar at $1.4328 .

The euro pared losses against the dollar after euro zone industrial orders came in much higher than expected. Euro zone industrial orders rose 3.1 percent in June from the previous month, beating forecasts for a 1.5 percent gain. ¨ûID:nBRQ007483¨ü.

Traders are keen to see how the euro zone economy fares, especially after higher-than-expected purchasing managers¡¯ index readings last week. Germany¡¯s Ifo survey of business sentiment will be key this week, analysts said.

Despite increased risk appetite, sterling failed to gain ground versus the U.S. dollar, trading flat on the day at $1.6508 .

¡°The dollar is holding up quite well which tends to suggest risk reward is gradually moving in favour of long-dollar positions on expectations for a stronger U.S. recovery,¡± said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

U.S. data will also be in focus. The Conference Board will release its August consumer confidence index on Tuesday and Reuters/University of Michigan will report on its late August snapshot on consumer sentiment on Friday.

U.S. new home sales, durable goods orders and revised second-quarter gross domestic product are due out this week.

Signs of some stabilisation in Chinese equities also supported higher-yielding currencies. Shanghai Composite Index ended more than 1 percent higher .SSEC>.

In other currencies, the Australian dollar rose 0.7 percent to 79.68 yen while it gained 0.8 percent versus the U.S. dollar to US$0.8412 . The New Zealand dollar was also higher, up 0.6 percent at US$0.6868 .

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