Yen set for biggest weekly rise since November

LONDON (Reuters) – The Japanese yen weakened on Friday as a downward spiral in U.S. Treasury yields ran out of steam, but it was heading for its biggest weekly gain since November amid concerns about the global economic recovery.

FILE PHOTO: Euro, Hong Kong dollar, U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, pound and Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen in this picture illustration, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee/Illustration/File Photo

Bonds have rallied this week with 10-year U.S. Treasury yields falling as much as 20 bps to a February low while stocks took a hammering worldwide amid growing concerns the fast-spreading Delta variant of COVID-19 could derail a revival that is already showing pockets of weakness.

While the perceived safe-haven currencies including the yen and the franc weakened by 0.3% against the dollar in early London trading, the yen was on track to strengthen 0.9% this week, its biggest weekly rise since early November 2020.

“Yesterday’s decline in dollar-yen is reversing together with risk appetite in equities suggesting no wider spillover effects across markets for now – the same move is seen in the U.S. 10-year yield bouncing back above 1.3%,” said Steen Jakobsen, chief investment officer at Saxo Bank.

“This week’s price action suggests a technical risk-off with a bigger repositioning of reflation trades.”

The dollar index clawed back part of Thursday’s 0.36% slide, rising less than 0.1% to 92.426. On Wednesday, it had pushed to a three-month high of 92.844.

Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week, an indication that the labour market recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be choppy.

Broader sentiment remained weak thanks to a spike in coronavirus cases globally with stay-at-home orders in Sydney, Australia’s most populous city, tightened further. Britain also saw cases increasing.

The Aussie gained 0.1% to $0.7439 after earlier touching a fresh low for the year at $0.7410. On Thursday, it posted a 0.7% decline.

New Zealand’s kiwi also gained 0.1% to $0.69515, and dipped as low as $0.6923, matching the weakest level since November. It plunged more than 1% in the previous session.

The euro held on to most of a 0.45% jump from overnight, slipping less than 0.1% to $1.18395.

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