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Syria worries send dollar under ¥98

JIJI

The dollar fell below ¥98 in Tokyo Tuesday as risk appetite among investors weakened on lower stock prices and increasing concerns about the Syrian situation.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at ¥97.81-85, down from ¥98.52-52 at the same time Monday. The euro stood at $1.3376-3379, up from $1.3366-3369, and at ¥130.87-94, down from ¥131.69-71.

The dollar fell past ¥98 in late trading after testing lows above that level repeatedly on selling triggered by stock market falls, traders said.

Sporadic purchases, including buying from Japanese importers, supported the dollar’s downside for some time, but they were eventually outpaced by selling that followed renewed weakness of stock prices, the traders added.

Recently released U.S. economic indicators have shown mixed results. On Monday, the Commerce Department said U.S. durable goods orders for July underperformed market expectations with a 7.3 percent fall month on month, prompting dollar selling.

“The U.S. economy is still recovering, but signs of deceleration have emerged,” a currency market strategist said.

“Equity prices are being sluggish reflecting recent economic indicators,” an official at a major foreign exchange margin trading company said.

“We cannot buy dollars for yen at a time when the currency pair is linked too closely with stock prices,” the official pointed out.

The Syria situation has also cast a shadow on currency market sentiment, traders said.

Amid speculation mounting that the United States, which alleges the use of chemical weapons in Syria, may step in to stop the civil conflict in the Mideast nation, “Investors have quickly become risk-averse,” the market strategist said.