The dollar plunged below ¥109 in Tokyo trading Friday as a risk-off mood spread amid heightened concerns over the new coronavirus.

At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at ¥108.84-84, down from ¥110.10-10 at the same time Thursday. The euro was at $1.0996-0996, up from $1.0921-0921, and at ¥119.67-68, down from ¥120.24-25.

The dollar met with unabated selling against the yen, still regarded as a safe haven currency, on the back of the Nikkei stock average’s free-fall. In the afternoon, the greenback slipped through ¥109.

Risk appetite waned further after the government called on all public schools in the country to call off classes from Monday until the spring break starts to stave off the deadly coronavirus, a development that reinforced investors’ view that the raging virus will deal a severe blow to the economy, traders said.

An official at a foreign exchange margin trading service firm noted that drops in other Asian stocks also weighed down the dollar-yen pair. “Players rushed to square their dollar-long positions,” the official added.

“The dollar may be sold further as no trough of the U.S. stock market is seen yet,” a currency broker said.

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