Asia forex in flux as yen’s haven role bolstered

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Forex markets in the Asia Pacific region heated up on Wednesday as investors sought safety in Japan’s yen, South Korea’s won weakened amid geopolitical tensions and the duelling exchange rates for China’s renminbi suggested renewed expectations of weakness.

The yen firmed 0.1 per cent to ¥‎109.49 against the dollar – the strongest level since November 17 – after pushing below the ¥‎110 mark in late Tuesday trade on Wall Street as investors flocked to havens.

The offshore rate for China’s renminbi remained weaker than its offshore rate for a second straight day, with the latter weakening 0.1 per cent to Rmb6.8977 despite a stronger trading band fix from the country’s central bank.

South Korea’s won responded to rising tensions in the region after the US earlier this week dispatched carriers to waters near the Korean peninsula in a show of naval power. The currency weakened 0.2 per cnet to 1114.57 per dollar, edging toward a new low for the month.

The Australian dollar also dipped below the $0.75 mark, shedding 0.1 per cent against the dollar to $0.7491, near its lowest level for the year to date.

The US dollar was slightly weaker overall, however, as the dollar index tracking the greenback against a basket of peers fell 0.1 per cent to 100.65.

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