The yen fluctuated between 142 and 146 to the dollar on the Tokyo market Tuesday in nervous trading that reflected Asian economic uncertainty and the overnight stock plunge in New York.
The dollar at one point hit a new high for the year at 146.75 yen, a level last seen in Tokyo on Aug. 22, 1990. But it plunged to the day’s low of 142.40 yen at around 11:30 a.m. on dollar-selling credited to Japanese insurers and U.S. fund buyers, traders said. “At first,” said Hitoshi Imamura of Nippon Credit Bank, “we thought it was intervention.”
At 5 p.m., the dollar was trading at 145.13-16 yen, down from 146.43-46 yen the same time Monday and from 146.15-25 yen late Monday in New York.
Meanwhile, the Nikkei average fell in the morning to 14,614.74, a low for the year and a drop of 210.43 from Monday, before recovering and ending the day at 14,720.38, down 104.79 and the lowest closing level since Jan. 12.
The dramatic plunge of the yen in Tokyo and the sagging of the Nikkei average triggered global stock falls, including a 207-point fall in the Dow Jones industrial average, the fifth-biggest point fall in Wall Street history. As the markets trembled, CNBC, a U.S. economic news channel, described Monday as “Asian Crisis, Part 2.”
Tuesday morning, Asian bourses were moving in a positive direction before reversing course in the afternoon. Seoul’s key index closed down 2.85 percent and hit an 11-year low. Hong Kong was down 0.67 percent, Manila dropped 1.16 percent, Malaysian shares slumped 2.59 percent and Singapore was down 0.65 percent.
Only Taipei, which does not trade in the afternoon, closed higher; it rose 1.65 percent.
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