Safe havens still in demand against US dollar

Chris Lee

The US dollar once again found itself to be on the back foot on Tuesday after there were further concerns about the impact of the killing of an Iranian general by US forces.

The Japanese yen, which is known for being one of the world’s leading safe haven currencies, was seen in its best position in three months against the dollar at one stage earlier in the week.

However, on Tuesday, it did find itself losing some ground – suggesting that there’s not as much strength of sentiment as there may have been previously.

It was noted at 108.44 in its pair with the US dollar, which was down a little from the position of 107.77 it saw the day before.

The Swiss franc, which is also a so-called safe haven, was up by half a percentage point in its pair with the US dollar.

It was noted at 0.9689 at one stage.

It was later seen approaching its best-performing position in over a year.

The move towards safe havens came as the dollar slid over fears of increased tension in the Middle East.

The US dollar has been in a difficult position for days now, with the level of risk perceived by investors to be unsatisfactory so early in the year – and the decade.

The US dollar index, which is an artificial tool designed to see how the currency is performing compared to others around the world, was down by a fifth of a percentage point over the course of Monday.

It was seen at 96.650 at one point.

Suggestions that the US and Iran may now go to war have been mooted by some observers, although this is far from a certain outcome.

Some relatively minor flashes of tension appeared across the day on Monday and into Tuesday.

One was the decision of the US to tell an Iranian government minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, that he would not be permitted a visa.

He was due to go to New York City to attend a meeting of the United Nations.

In a sign of just how strong the anti-greenback sentiment is at the moment, other currencies also performed very strongly.

The British pound was up by 0.7% over the course of Monday and reached $1.3174 in its pair with the US dollar.

The single European currency was spotted at $1.1193 against the US currency.

On Monday, it had risen by 0.4%.

However, the main area of focus now is likely to be whether or not Iran and the US escalate their tensions.

After the killing of the general, Qassem Soleimani, Iran said that it would seek revenge on the US for the killing.

Some reports, including some apparently based on a military letter, suggested that the US might go about removing troops from Iraq – although the US government later confirmed that it did not intend to do that.

Mark Esper, who serves as the US defence secretary under President Donald Trump, confirmed this information on Monday.

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