Wednesday during early deals, the yen jumped to new multi-day highs against other major currencies as risk aversion boosted demand for the safe-haven Japanese currency.
Stocks across the Asia-Pacific are substantially down, dragging higher yielding currencies lower and bolstering demand for the low-yielding currencies like dollar and yen.
The yen saw significant weakness in the previous week following the G20 meeting of global leaders in London as an agreed boost in funds available to the International Monetary Fund to fight the financial crisis lifted equities and investor risk appetite. The rally in equity markets faded in recent days as the onset of the first-quarter corporate earnings season dented investor sentiment.
Wednesday in Asia, the yen continued to creep higher versus the dollar, jumping to a 15-day high of 98.17, compared to 99.00 hit late Tuesday in New York. If the yen moves up further, it may test resistance around the 97.2 level.
Yesterday's gloomy economic reports from the U.S. dragged the dollar down against its most major counterparts. U.S. producer prices dropped and retail sales unexpectedly showed a significant decrease in March. Additionally, business inventories fell a little more than economists had expected while business sales showed a modest increase.
During today's early trading, the dollar recovered its losses against the pound and the franc and is now trading in positive territory against all majors except against the yen.
The US consumer price index for March is scheduled to be released at 8:30 am ET today. The consensus estimates call for 0.2% growth in the consumer price index and the core consumer price index that excludes food and energy.
Thereafter, the results of the New York Federal Reserve's empire state manufacturing survey, Treasury Department's report on the flows of financial instruments into and out of the U.S., the industrial production report, the NAHB housing market index and the Fed's Beige book are scheduled for release.
Against the currency of Europe, the yen climbed to a 15-day high of 129.94 by about 12:30 am ET Wednesday. The next resistance level for the yen is seen at 128.2. The euro-yen pair closed yesterday's deals at 131.27.
After hitting a record low of 170.00 in July 2008, the yen gained 34% against the euro and reached a 7-year high of 112.08 on January 21, 2009, as investors fled from stock markets following the major economies entering a recession.
The yen has been in a downtrend thereafter as world central banks announced financial packages to boost their economies, which lead to an increase in investors' risk appetite. As a result, the yen fell 18% and hit a 5 1/2-month low of 137.44 on April 06. Thereafter, the yen started ticking up and has gained around 5% since then.
The euro has been drifting lower against its major counterparts since last week on speculation that the global recession will deepen, prompting the European central bank policy makers to cut interest rates further. While lowering its key interest rate by 25 basis points to a new low of 1.25% on April 02, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet signaled that there is still room to cut the benchmark interest rate for Eurozone and said the world economy is undergoing a severe downturn.
During Asian deals on Wednesday, the yen strengthened to a 1-week high of 145.89 against the British pound. If the yen climbs further, it may likely target the 142.3 level. The pound-yen pair closed Tuesday's deals at 147.47.
The pound showed little reaction to the news that the home sales sentiment in Great Britain improved in March. The survey results released by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its price balance rose to minus-73.1 in March from a revised minus-78.1 in February.
The Japanese yen rose around 4% against the Swiss franc since April 06 to hit a 13-day high of 86.10 today. The next upside target level for the yen is seen at 85.9 against the franc.
The Japanese unit also surged higher versus the New Zealand dollar, rising to a 1-week high of 56.58. On the upside, 55.5 is seen as the next target level for the yen. The pair was worth 57.77 at yesterday's close.
Against its Australian counterpart, the yen advanced to a 6-day high of 70.30 in Asian deals on Wednesday, compared to Tuesday's closing value of 71.68. The next upside target level for the Japanese currency is seen at 68.6 against the Aussie.
The leading index of Australia's economic activity based on a private sector survey showed a contraction of 0.3 percent in February compared to the month before. The leading index, published Wednesday by Westpac Bank and the Melbourne Institute, also declined at an annual rate of 5.1 percent in February, reaching its lowest points since September 1982.
Against the Canadian currency, the Japanese yen hit a 6-day high of 80.68 today. If the yen ticks up further, the next likely resistance is seen around the 80.5 level. At yesterday's North American session close, the loonie-yen pair was worth 81.49.
In economic news from Japan, a revised report from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry or METI showed that the nation's industrial production declined for the fifth consecutive month in February. In February, production fell 9.4% month-on-month, in line with initial estimate. Output recorded an annual fall of 38.4%.
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