Within the past several hours, safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen and gold have jumped, and stocks have fallen, following a US military strike on a Syrian airbase.
The launch of fifty Tomahawk cruise missiles from US Navy warships in the Mediterranean Sea was ordered by President Donald Trump. The decision to strike an airbase controlled by Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad was made in response to Assad’s chemical attack on rebel forces on Tuesday.
Investors have been shaken by Trump’s decision, which pushes the US once again into a potential confrontation with Russia – one of President Assad’s main supporters.
The decision also marks a significant shift for Trump personally, who repeatedly criticized the previous US administration for involving America in wars in the Middle East. “We will stop racing to topple foreign leaders”, said Trump in December.
The yen quickly rose 0.6% against the US dollar on the news and USD/JPY now sits just above lows set in late-March at 110.16. A break of those lows seems highly probable given the current market context, which is formed in part by today’s developments, but also by a pre-existing environment of yen strength (or ‘risk-off’). Prior to today’s news, the yen had been in a solid recent uptrend against many currencies, including the Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, euro, yuan, Canadian dollar and US dollar.
For those in need of Japanese currency, it should be noted that Australians are perhaps most fortunate. The yen remains best value against the Australian dollar. Regular readers of BestExchangeRates.com will know that on Tuesday we discussed opportunities to take advantage of high Australian dollar valuations. And even with this week’s fall going against it, the ‘Aussie’ can still buy yen within the lowest third of its June-2016 to February-2017 range, which is better than can be said for most other currencies.
Using BestExchangeRates’ money transfer comparison calculator, readers can see that a purchase of JPY 1,000,000 costs only AUD 12,238 with today’s best value FX providers (TorFX and WorldFirst) – a saving of more than AUD 400 over the FX services at a typical Australian bank.
Currency rates were extremely volatile last week as the coronavirus situation worsened day by day with various countries implementing ever-tougher measures to stop the spread of the disease.
Last update: 23 Mar, 2020
This week the US Dollar was touching three-year highs when valued against a basket of major currencies. The greenback’s traditional role as one of the safe-haven currencies is helped by a domestic economy that is largely immune to the threats of the coronavirus.
Last update: 22 Feb, 2020
The strong start to the year for “risk-on” currencies is already a distant memory.
Posted: 3 Feb, 2020