The Japanese yen rose to its highest level in five months versus the euro after the European Union and the U.S. slapped more sanctions on Russia for its role in fanning the Ukraine conflict, causing investors to scamper for safe havens.
The yen rose 0.2 percent to touch 137.25 per euro as of 7:29 a.m. in New York markets after earlier declining to 137.18, its lowest level since February 6. The yen advanced 0.2 percent to 101.44 per dollar while the dollar remained slightly unchanged at $1.3529 per euro.
“There is a degree of uncertainty in terms of how the sanctions story will play out — clearly that’s impacting equity sentiment and providing a risk off mentality,” Jeremy Stretch, a London-based head of currency strategy at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce told Bloomberg. “That, alongside the fact U.S. yields are drifting lower, has provided some reasonable resilient support for the yen.”
Washington’s sanctions are targeted at Russian oil giant OAO Rosneft, natural gas company OAO Novatek and OAO Gazprombank, the nation’s third-biggest bank as well as eight defense companies. European Union leaders also met in Brussels and decided to blacklist the companies and stop all loans to Russian public-sector projects.
News of the imminent sanctions sent the Russian ruble depreciating 1.7 percent to trade at 34.9800 per dollar, its steepest drop since March 3.
The U.S. dollar got a boost from forecasts that U.S. housing starts grew by 1.02 million in June, compared with 1 million in May, a Bloomberg poll showed before the Commerce Department reported the actual results on Thursday. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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