August 13, 2018 / 7:53 AM / 7 days ago

FOREX-Euro wilts as Turkey rout sends investors into yen, francs

* Investors risk aversion dominates; yen, Swiss franc gain

* Euro stuck below $1.14; dollar near recent highs

* Emerging market currencies hammered on Turkish lira fallout

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2018 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Tommy Wilkes

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - The euro slid to a fresh 13-month low and emerging market currencies slumped further on Monday, while the yen surged to a six-week high as the fallout from the Turkish lira’s crash pushed more investors into safe-haven currencies.

As investors dumped riskier assets in Asian trading and into the European open, the Swiss franc jumped to within a whisker of a one-year high against the euro.

Emerging market currencies continued to reel as investors worried about contagion. The South African rand was down 3.1 percent after falling more than 10 percent in earlier trading, the Russian rouble dropped 0.8 percent and the Mexican peso 1.5 percent.

After hitting a record low of 7.24 against the dollar early on Monday, Turkey’s plummeting lira found some support after Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said the government had drafted an economic action plan to ease investor concerns and the banking watchdog said it had limited swap transactions.

“The big fear in the market is that we are headed for a full-blown emerging market crisis,” said Ulrich Leuchtmann, an FX strategist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, citing the 1997 Asian financial crisis when even countries with a sound macroeconomic position were sucked into a deep sell-off.

Leuchtmann said he believed that “we are fundamentally in a different position” because many emerging market central banks retained the confidence of the market after hiking interest rates over the past year.

But a scramble into currencies deemed safer, such as the yen and franc, underlined market worries about where this was headed. “The market has woken up quite late to this (the Turkey crisis),” he said.

The euro fell to as low as $1.1365, a 13-month low, before recovering to trade down 0.2 percent to $1.1382.

The single currency was hit hard on Friday after reports that the European Central Bank had concerns about banks in Spain, Italy and France and their exposure to Turkey.

The dollar, which has rallied since the Turkish lira crisis exploded last week, gained 0.1 percent to 96.463 against a basket of major currencies.

The yen surged 0.6 percent to 110.265 after earlier hitting a six-week high of 110.11. The Swiss franc rose half a percent to $1.1288.

The euro slipped about 1 percent against the Japanese yen at 125.27 yen per euro, close to a 2-1/2-month low of 125.26.

Tohru Sasaki, head of markets research in Japan for JPMorgan Chase Bank, said the yen’s performance against major peers has been bolstered since last week amid the market turmoil.

“The yen is likely to continue to outperform even among the major currencies,” he said.

The biggest moves were in emerging markets.

The Turkish lira found some support after sinking to its record low against the greenback.

The currency was last trading at 6.8364 against the dollar at 0732 GMT after earlier plummeting below 7 lira.

Turkey’s currency has fallen more than 40 percent against the greenback this year on worries over President Tayyip Erdogan’s increasing control over the economy and a deepening diplomatic rift with the United States.

The South African rand recovered somewhat after sliding in early Asian trading to as low as 15.70 rand per dollar, its lowest level since June 2016 and down more than 10 percent from late last week.

A trader at a U.S. bank in Tokyo said he thought selling in the rand by real money investors in Asia may have been a reason behind the rand’s sudden fall. (Additional reporting by Daniel Leussink in TOKYO; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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