Yen hits 3⅟₂-year low, shares dip before US jobs data

LONDON, April 5 — The yen hit a 3⅟₂-year low against the dollar today, a day after the Bank of Japan’s aggressive policy easing, while European shares fell ahead of pivotal US payrolls data due later in the day.

The jobs numbers, which are expected to show employers added 200,000 jobs last month, are being closely watched for clues on the strength of the US economic recovery and the next step in the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.

An improving growth trend in the United States has been a key driver for investors taking on more risk this year, but recent data has suggested the momentum might be flagging.

“Expectations for today’s payrolls have been scaled back,” said Philip Tyson, a strategist at ICAP. “Investors are fearing another spring swoon, a setback in growth.”

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top companies touched a one-week low of 1,178.56 points in early trade after falling 1.1 per cent in the previous session, but is still up about 4 per cent so far this year.

London’s FTSE 100, Frankfurt’s DAX and Paris’s CAC-40 were between 0.1 per cent lower and 0.2 per cent higher.

Investors are still reacting to yesterday’s radical announcement from Japan’s new central bank governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, of a massive US$1.4 trillion (RM4.3 trillion) injection of liquidity into the economy to end decades of deflation.

European sovereign bonds were finding fresh demand on talk that investors were moving from Japanese government debt into Europe in search of better yields.

The French 10-year bond yield sank 7 basis points to 1.81 per cent, the lowest on record. Belgian, Austrian, Spanish and Italian bond yields also fell.

In the currency market the yen weakened past ¥97 per US$ for the first time since August 2009, after falling 3.6 per cent yesterday.

Against the euro, the yen was about 0.3 per cent firmer at ¥124.20 after losing 4.3 per cent yesterday, its biggest one-day fall against the single currency since November 2008.

Earlier the Nikkei share average jumped as much as 4.7 per cent, extending yesterday’s 2.2 per cent rise and breaking through 13,000 points for the first time since August 2008. The 10-year JGB yield fell as much as 12 basis points to a record low of 0.315 per cent. — Reuters


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