(Recasts, updates prices, adds comment, changes byline)
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK Aug 15 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
"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
In midday trading, the dollar was down 0.1 percent against
the yen at 102.37 yen, after hitting a more than one-week
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