FOREX -Yen edges higher as Syria jitters hit risk sentiment

Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:31pm EDT

Related Topics

* Dollar/yen and cross/yen retreat

* Syria concerns dent sentiment toward risky assets

By Masayuki Kitano

SINGAPORE, Aug 27 (Reuters) - The yen rose on Tuesday as risk sentiment took a hit on worries that the United States may be edging toward possible military action against the Syrian government over a suspected chemical weapons attack.

The United States put Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on notice on Monday that it believes he was responsible for using chemical weapons against civilians last week in what Secretary of State John Kerry called a "moral obscenity."

The dollar fell 0.2 percent versus the yen to 98.27 yen , pulling away from a near three-week high of 99.15 yen set on Friday on trading platform EBS. The dollar fell to as low as 98.04 yen earlier on Tuesday.

The yen rose broadly, with the Australian dollar sliding 0.8 percent to 88.25 yen. When market sentiment toward risky assets worsens, that can bolster the perceived safe haven appeal of the yen.

The jitters over Syria seemed to be triggering a risk-off type of market reaction, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore.

It is hard to tell how serious the situation might become, and that sense of uncertainty seemed to be affecting the market, he said.

"You could say the uncertainty is causing the market to turn risk-off," Okagawa said.

Even with the yen's rise on Tuesday, however, the dollar was still hovering within a recent trading range versus the yen, and held above last week's low of 96.91 yen set on Aug. 20.

Jeffrey Halley, an FX trader for Saxo Capital Markets in Singapore said there was some market talk of yen-buying by Japanese exporters, adding that there was also talk of stop-loss dollar offers at levels around 97.90 yen.

The euro held steady versus the dollar at $1.3372.

Economic data due later on Tuesday include Germany's Ifo business climate survey for August, while the U.S. has the Case-Shiller house price index, consumer confidence and the Richmond Fed survey.

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