The euro fell against the yen to the weakest level in more than 11 years as investors sought the relative safety of the Japanese currency and pushed German bond yields to record lows amid a deepening of Europe’s debt crisis.
The Dollar Index climbed to a 21-month high after Chinese manufacturing grew less than forecast last month and before a report that US payrolls probably picked up from the weakest pace in six months. The 17-nation currency slid to the lowest in almost two years against the dollar after euro-area unemployment surged to the highest on record.
“We’ve definitely seen an intensification of the Eurozone crisis,” said Simon Derrick, chief currency strategist at Bank of New York Mellon in London. “What you’ve seen is people saying where were the true safe havens are, and coming to the conclusion that ultimately there really were only two, Japan or the US,” Derrick said they have $1.17 (Dh4.2) targeted against the euro.
The euro tumbled 0.6 per cent to 96.32 yen at 8.02 am New York time on Friday after reaching 96.17 yen, the weakest since November 30, 2000. The shared currency fell 0.3 per cent to $1.2323 after depreciating to $1.2312, the least since July 1, 2010. The US currency was 0.2 per cent lower at 78.19 yen.Yields on German two-, five-, 10- and 30-year bonds dropped to records on Friday, as did those on ten-year Treasuries and British gilts.
The 17-nation currency posted its ninth daily decline against the yen, the longest losing streak since March 2000, after a report showed unemployment in the euro area reached 11 per cent in April and March, the highest since the data series started in 1995.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and ECB President Mario Draghi pushed Germany to give up its opposition to direct euro-area aid for struggling banks.
The Dollar Index, which IntercontinentalExchange uses to track the greenback against the currencies of six US trading partners, gained as much as 0.4 per cent to 83.39, the highest level since August 2010.
The dollar’s advance was limited before a report economists said will show hiring in the US picked up in May. Payrolls climbed by 150,000 workers following a 115,000 April increase, according to the median forecast of 86 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The unemployment rate held at a three-year low of 8.1 per cent, a separate survey showed.
The last time Japan intervened in the currency market to stem the yen’s appreciation was on November 4. Japanese officials sold at least 14.3 trillion yen last year to stem currency strength that is forcing exporters to cut labour costs as they lose customers to their overseas rivals.