FOREX -Syria jitters buoy yen, Swiss franc; Aussie drops
* Yen sharply higher vs Australian and New Zealand dollar * Swiss also franc rises versus euro, dollar * German IFO survey may have fleeting impact on euro/dollar By Anirban Nag LONDON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - The safe-haven yen and Swiss franc rose on Tuesday and riskier currencies like the Australian dollar fell in trade dominated by geopolitical tensions as the West edged towards possible military action against Syria. The dollar fell 0.3 percent versus the yen to 98.15 yen , pulling away from a near three-week high of 99.15 yen set on Friday on EBS. The dollar fell 0.2 percent against Swiss franc to 0.9210 francs while the euro was down 0.25 percent at 1.2313 francs. Core government bond prices rose. "We are seeing some safe-haven bids because of the Syrian issue and that is driving the Aussie and the kiwi lower," said Daragh Maher, currency strategist at HSBC. The growth-linked Australian dollar was down 0.9 percent at $0.8955 while against the yen it was down more than 1 percent at 87.90 yen. The New Zealand dollar fell 1 percent against the yen to 76.56 yen Washington said on Monday it believed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on civilians last week in what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called a "moral obscenity." Both the Swiss franc and the yen are preferred during times of financial market stress while growth-linked higher yielding currencies are sold off. The rising tension stemming from Syria is likely to overshadow any impact from data from the euro zone. The IFO German confidence survey is due at 0800 GMT and while both the business climate and the current condition indices are forecast to show a rise, analysts said any boost in the euro was likely to prove temporary. "The (Syria) uncertainty is causing the market to turn risk-off," said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore. The euro was steady against the dollar at $1.3372 while it was down 0.3 percent against the yen at 131.25 yen. Its losses against the yen were mainly due to worries about Syria, traders said. Data due later from the United States includes the Case-Shiller house price index, consumer confidence and the Richmond Fed survey. Disappointing U.S. data in the past two trading sessions have weighed on the dollar, although buying at lower levels has checked sharp losses.
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