Dollar under ¥102 over Crimea

JIJI

The dollar fell below ¥102 in Tokyo trading Friday, reflecting uncertainties over the situation in Ukraine and the global stock market slump.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at ¥101.75-76, down from ¥102.59-60 at the same time Thursday. The euro was at $1.3865-3865, down from $1.3954-3956, and at ¥141.07-09, down from ¥143.17-17.

The greenback plummeted by more than ¥1 in overseas trading overnight as risk-averse investors rushed to buy the yen, regarded as a safe-haven currency in times of turmoil, prompted by comments over the Ukraine crisis from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that further worsened investor sentiment, which had already been hurt by lingering concern over an economic slowdown in China.

Kerry warned Thursday that a serious series of steps would be taken Monday by the United States and Europe depending on how Russia handles Sunday’s referendum in Crimea on whether to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

After staying around ¥101.80 in early Tokyo trading, the dollar moved on a weak tone in the morning in line with sluggish Tokyo stock prices.

The dollar temporarily dropped to around ¥101.50 in the afternoon as the Nikkei stock average briefly lost more than 500 points. It showed some resilience in late hours on buybacks.

“The dollar met with position adjustment moves before the weekend amid worries about the situation in Ukraine and the course of the Chinese economy,” a brokerage official said.

Market participants refrained from active transactions ahead of Sunday’s referendum in Crimea. “The referendum is seen as a risk factor over the weekend,” a foreign exchange broker said.