FOREX-Yen, Swiss franc rise on fresh Russia-Ukraine tension

Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:37am EDT

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By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK Aug 15 (Reuters) - The safe-haven yen and Swiss franc advanced on Friday after heightened tension in Ukraine that saw the government's artillery destroy a "significant" part of a Russian armored column.

The Swiss franc hit a 19-month high against the euro and a three-week peak versus the dollar on the news. The yen meanwhile reversed losses against the dollar, turning higher.

On Friday, President Petro Poroshenko told British Prime Minister David Cameron about the action taken by Ukraine's military on a Russian column that crossed into Ukraine during the night.

"Risk has evaporated from the markets after the Ukraine headlines,' said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington. "We have seen investors use the yen and Swiss franc as safe harbors."

The yen and Swiss franc tend to benefit in times of global tension because of their deep liquidity. The dollar is also a safe haven, but recently investors have bought the greenback against emerging market currencies in periods of financial or geopolitical stress.

In midday trading, the dollar was down 0.1 percent against the yen at 102.37 yen, after hitting a more than one-week high.

The euro, meanwhile, tumbled versus the Swiss franc to its lowest since January 2013. It was last at 1.2098, down 0.1 percent. The dollar also fell versus the franc to a three-week trough. It last traded at 0.9029 franc, down 0.4 percent. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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