Forex: US dollar and yen lifted, euro hands back gains as Asian stocks slide

By: | Published: July 8, 2015 8:54 AM

The US dollar and yen gained on Wednesday with investors seeking the perceived safety of these currencies as Asian equities, notably volatile Chinese shares, fell across the board and hurt risk appetite.

The US dollar and yen gained on Wednesday with investors seeking the perceived safety of these currencies as Asian equities, notably volatile Chinese shares, fell across the board and hurt risk appetite.

The euro slipped 0.3 percent to $1.0975, crawling back towards a five week trough of $1.0916 struck the previous day on lingering angst towards the Greek debt crisis.

The common currency had received some reprieve overnight to poke above $1.10 after euro zone members gave Athens until the end of the week to come up with a proposal for sweeping reforms in return for loans.

“The Greek situation tends to develop only during the European trading hours. Meanwhile in Asia the chief concern is how far Chinese shares could fall. Another factor to watch as a barometer of sentiment is sliding commodities, particularly copper,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, senior strategist at Monex in Tokyo.

“The dollar is doing well against most currencies but the yen. Lower U.S. debt yields are one factor, impact from Bank of Japan governor Kuroda is another. It has become harder for the dollar to advance ever since he spoke out on the yen’s weakness,” Yamamoto said.

Although he later backtracked somewhat, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda described the yen as being “very weak” early in June, which the markets perceived as a form of verbal intervention.

The dollar lost 0.3 percent to 122.19 yen, moving towards a six-week trough of 121.70 yen hit on Monday in response to the Greek rejection of austerity measures in a weekend referendum. The euro slid 0.5 percent to 134.25 yen  and back towards a six-week low of 133.52 yen plumbed overnight.

The Shanghai Composite Index, already down about 16 percent so far this month, suffered another sharp slide on Wednesday as investors shrugged off a series of support measures by Chinese regulators. Tokyo’s Nikkei slid 1.5 percent.

U.S. crude hovered near three-month lows while three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell to a six-year trough overnight as the Greek debt saga and more recently turbulence in the Chinese stock markets fanned global growth fears.

The Australian dollar, usually sold off in times of heightened risk aversion, slumped to a fresh six-year low against the greenback.

The Aussie, often used as a China proxy, fell as far as $0.7390, reaching a low not seen since May 2009.

Focus fell to how the European risk asset markets react to nose-diving Chinese stocks later in the day and Greece’s formal request for a two-year loan programme it is supposed to submit on Wednesday, one of the steps Athens has to take before Sunday’s European Union summit when its fate is likely to be decided.

Analysts at BNP Paribas said there was no reason to be particularly optimistic at this stage and warned that even a full resolution of Greek stress would still leave the door open for renewed euro weakness.

However, “price action does suggest scope for more short-covering if markets begin to anticipate a deal,” they wrote in a note to clients.

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