The euro fell by the most in 11 months against the yen as rising Spanish borrowing costs boosted concern the region's sovereign-debt crisis in worsening.
The dollar posted weekly gains against most of its major counterparts as demand for safety increased. Higher-yielding currencies, led by South Africa's rand, fell as a report showed US employers added the fewest jobs in five months in March, which fuelled concern the US economic recovery is slowing and underscored bets the Federal Reserve will introduce further stimulus. The yen rose against all of its major peers before a Bank of Japan meeting this week.
"The rain has come from Spain," said Alan Ruskin, global head of Group-of-10 foreign-exchange strategy at Deutsche Bank AG in New York. "The austerity policy is so harsh that it could undermine their own capacity to deliver better fiscal numbers. The Spain story is front and centre" for the euro.
The 17-nation euro dropped 3.4 per cent to 106.86 yen (Dh4.8) in New York, its biggest weekly loss since May. The shared currency fell 1.9 per cent to $1.3096, reaching $1.3035 April 5, its lowest level since March 15. The dollar weakened 1.5 per cent to 81.64 yen. The rand and Sweden's crown declined the most against the dollar among the 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg. South Africa's currency slumped 2.7 per cent to 7.8834 per dollar while the crown lost 2.1 per cent to 6.7522.
The euro declined 1.1 per cent in the past week, the second worst performance after the crown among the 10 developed-nation currencies tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes. The yen has gained 2.6 per cent and the dollar has appreciated 0.9 per cent.
Spain, the euro-region's fourth-largest economy, is in "extreme difficulty," Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said April 4, raising the possibility of a bailout for the second time. Spanish bonds fell, pushing the yield on the 10-year benchmark bond to as high as 5.84 per cent April 5, the most since December, and widening the spread with similar-maturity German bunds to more than 4 percentage points.
Spain's 10-year bond yield has jumped nearly one percentage point since March 2, when Rajoy announced the government would fail to achieve its budget-deficit target this year. He warned that public debt will surge to a record 79.8 per cent of GDP this year as it imposes the deepest austerity in at least three decades.
German exports probably decreased 1.2 per cent in February from January, when they rose 2.4 per cent, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the report due on April 10. In France, industrial production increased 0.3 per cent in February, matching a 0.3 per cent gain the prior month, another poll showed before the nation's statistics office releases data the same day.
The Dollar Index, which Intercontinental Exchange Inc uses to track the greenback against the currencies of six US major trading partners, gained 1.1 per cent to 79.839, halting three consecutive weeks of losses.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 120,000 last month, the smallest increase in five months, the Labour Department reported on Friday. Economists had forecast an addition of 205,000, according to the median of 75 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
The Swiss franc climbed to as strong as 1.19995 per euro on Thursday, breaking the Swiss National Bank-imposed ceiling of 1.20 per euro. The franc appreciated 0.3 per cent last week, rising for a third week, to 1.2010 per euro. It lost 1.6 per cent to 91.73 centimes per dollar.
The Swiss central bank set a limit of 1.20 francs per euro on September 6 to protect exports after investors turned to the nation's currency as a haven from Europe's sovereign-debt crisis. The SNB won't allow the franc to rise above the ceiling and is ready to buy foreign currencies in unlimited quantities, spokesman Walter Meier said on Thursday.