Rise for yen as safe havens back on agenda

Tom Cleveland

The so-called safe havens saw some rises over the course of Monday and into Tuesday after renewed pessimism about the prospects of the US and China ending their trade war soon.

The Japanese yen, which investors often turn to in times of wider market troubles, found that it was in demand after a few days of the dollar and other currencies being on top.

This came after US President Donald Trump told the world on Monday that a trade deal could yet go ahead.

However, the speed with which situations can change in this process meant that investors were far from convinced.

The announcement of a potential deal came just a short while after the announcement of new trade sanctions, suggesting that no easy solution was really on the cards just yet.

The G7 summit in France, at which major leaders from across the globe met to discuss issues such as trade, did not appear to shed much light on a way out of the situation.

At the summit, Trump did indicate that there had been some conversations on Sunday night about the potential for talks to resume. No concrete outcomes emerged and it was uncertain whether the call had actually been received.

In a move which cast doubt on the actual level of communication between the two warring sides, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry later said that he had not been informed about the conversation.

China also acted to limit the level of damage to its currency. While every other major currency’s value is determined by the forces of supply and demand, the onshore Chinese yuan is fixed by the Chinese authorities. Over the course of Monday, the central banking authorities in China fixed the yuan much more than was predicted – meaning that the main loser in the situation was the US dollar.

With US Treasury yields continuing to dip, there was little hope for the dollar.

In terms of the numbers, the Japanese yen was up by nearly half a percentage point against all sorts of competitors. It was up by 0.4% in its pair with the US dollar.

The Antipodean currencies also lost out to the yen. The Australian dollar, which often falls when the Chinese economy is seen to be doing poorly due to the trading relationship between the two nations, was down 0.4% against the US dollar.

The same rise was seen in the pair between the Japanese yen and the Kiwi dollar of New Zealand.

The yen completed its round of dominance by pushing the dollar index, a tool designed to monitor how the greenback is performing in conjunction with several other major currencies from around the world, down as well. It recorded a modest drop of 0.06% and was recorded at 97.960 at one point.

Elsewhere, the British pound dropped by half a percentage point in its pair with the US dollar over the course of Monday. It was seen at $1.2215 at one stage in this pair.

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Tom Cleveland
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