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GLOBAL MARKETS-Yen soars on G7 comment; Dow nears record
February 12, 2013 / 9:46 PM / 5 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Yen soars on G7 comment; Dow nears record

* G7 statement and later remarks roil yen
    * G7 official: Group statement was "misinterpreted"
    * Dow nears record high ahead of Obama speech

    By David Gaffen and Wanfeng Zhou
    NEW YORK, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The yen rallied on Tuesday,
reversing the previous day's late selloff against the dollar and
euro after an official with the Group of Seven said it is
worried about excess moves in the Japanese currency.
    World stock markets edged higher and the Dow Industrials
climbed within striking distance of an all-time high as
investors looked ahead to President Barack Obama's State of the
Union address on Tuesday evening. 
    The G7, in a statement, urged countries to refrain from
competitive devaluations, saying it remained committed to
"market-determined" exchange rates. This was in reaction to
weeks of concern that the new Japanese government's monetary
easing policy, which has also weakened the yen, could trigger
far-reaching currency wars.
    However, the market interpreted the statement as a sign that
the G7 supported Japan's moves, prompting an official from a G7
nation to say later that the group "is concerned about
unilateral guidance on the yen." 
    The comments - meant to clarify the G7 statement - sparked a
rally in the yen against the dollar and euro. 
    "Having asserted on Sunday evening that G20 would seek to
'calm' markets over talk of currency wars, the first ad-hoc
attempt to do so this morning has been a dismal failure," said
Richard Gilhooly, analyst at TD Securities in New York. "Rather
than calm the markets, the poorly communicated statement has
significantly raised volatility and now we have to wait to see
the actual outcome of G20 on the weekend." 
    The dollar was down 0.9 percent against the yen at 93.50
, having risen to 94.42 yen on Monday, according to
Reuters data, the highest since May, 2010.
    The euro fell 0.5 percent to 125.77 yen, after a 2
percent rally on Monday. 
    The G7 must go into this weekend's G20 meetings forcefully
pressing major emerging economies to adopt flexible foreign
exchange rates, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said on
    Tokyo is likely to come under serious pressure when G20
finance ministers and central bankers meet in Moscow at the end
of the week, not least because the United States is employing
similar policies.
    Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso welcomed the statement,
saying it recognized Tokyo's policy steps were not "aimed at
influencing currency markets."
    U.S. Treasury official Lael Brainard said on Monday that
while competitive devaluations should be avoided, Washington
supported Tokyo's efforts to reinvigorate growth and end
    MSCI's global share index was up 0.5 percent
at 356.53. European shares gained 0.6 percent to close
at 1161.46.
    The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 47.46
points, or 0.34 percent, at 14,018.70. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index ended up 2.42 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1,519.43.
The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 5.51 points, or 0.17
percent, to 3,186.49.
    The S&P 500 has risen for the past six weeks, putting it up
6.5 percent so far this year, while the Dow is about 1 percent
away from its all-time closing record of 14,164.53, reached in
October 2007.  
    Investors will be listening to Obama's speech for any clues
on a deal with Republicans to avert automatic spending cuts due
to take effect March 1. The tone of the speech will also be
scrutinized, with any sign of compromise likely to be warmly
    Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes fell 4/32 in
price to yield 1.98 percent, as investors prepared to absorb $72
billion in new debt supply this week.
    The euro rose 0.4 percent to $1.3455 after European
Central Bank President Mario Draghi said there is no such thing
as a currency war and that Spain was on the right track toward
economic recovery. 
    Oil prices rose after the U.S. Energy Information
Administration said world oil demand would grow more quickly
than expected in 2013 and OPEC raised its outlook for the amount
of crude it will need to pump this year. 
    Brent oil rose 53 cents to settle at $118.66 a
barrel and U.S. crude was up 48 cents to settle at $97.51
a barrel.
    Spot gold clawed back from its lowest in over a month
and was last at $1,651 an ounce.
    Financial markets showed a muted reaction to news that North
Korea conducted a nuclear test and said it would never bow to
U.N. resolutions.

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