Mar 17, 2014 09:19 AM IST | Source:

Forex - Japanese yen weakens against dollar as Ukraine tension brews

Forex - Japanese yen weakens against dollar as Ukraine tension brews - - The Japanese yen weakened against the dollar in Asian trade on Monday as Crimea's vote to break away from Ukraine and join Russia prompted President Barack Obama to warn that the United States and Europe are "prepared to impose additional costs" on Russia for its actions.

USD/JPY traded at 101.51, up 0.15%, while safe haven Swiss franc traded at 0.8730, up 0.09%, and EUR/USD traded at 1.3908, down 0.04%.

Last week, the yen rose against the dollar as safe haven demand was bolstered by fears over an economic slowdown in China and tensions over the crisis in Ukraine, ahead of the referendum in Crimea.

At the weekend, China widened the range in which the yuan can fluctuate against the U.S. dollar, signalling it could accept more volatility for the exchange rate and challenge the perception that the currency is a one-way bet.

Investor sentiment last week was hit as weak economic reports from China raised fresh concerns over the strength of the world's second-largest economy. On Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang warned that the economy faced "severe challenges" in 2014.

But the market focus is now on the result from the Crimea, where voters Sunday reportedly voted an overwhelming thumbs up, more than 90%, to break away from Ukraine and join Russia, according to Russian news outlets.

Obama spoke with Russia President Vladimir Putin again Sunday, the White House said in a statement, adding that a de-escalation of the crisis cannot take place while Russian troops remain on the peninsula.

At the end of last week, traditional safe haven Swiss franc was also stronger against the dollar, with USD/CHF down 0.26% to 0.8721 on Friday, not far from Thursday's low of 0.8698, the weakest level since October 2011.

The euro moved higher against the dollar on Friday, with EUR/USD up 0.33% to 1.3913 at the close, holding below Thursday's peaks of 1.3966, the strongest level since October 31, 2011.

The euro lost ground against the dollar and the yen on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the strong euro was putting downward pressure on euro zone inflation.

In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to Wednesday's monetary policy announcement by the Federal Reserve. The central bank is also to publish its economic forecasts.

The euro zone is to produce the closely watched ZEW index of German economic sentiment, while the U.K. is to release data on employment.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of these and other On Monday, the euro zone is to release data on consumer price inflation, which accounts for the majority of overall inflation.

Canada is to produce data on foreign investments.

The U.S. is to publish data on manufacturing activity in the Empire State, as well as reports on industrial production and long term securities transactions.
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