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NZ dollar falls to 5-month low vs yen as geopolitics stokes demand Japan's safe-haven currency

Wednesday 12th April 2017

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The New Zealand dollar fell to a five-month low against the yen as North Korea stepped up its anti-US rhetoric and American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Moscow for talks on the standoff over Syria.

The kiwi dollar fell to 76.29 yen as at 8am in Wellington, and earlier touched 76.05 yen, the lowest since mid-November, from 76.91 yen late yesterday. The kiwi was little changed at 65.54 US cents and the trade-weighted index slipped to 75.85 from 75.94.

North Korean warned it was prepared to launch a nuclear attack on the US if provoked, its state media reported. Its leader Kim Jong Un has continued with missile tests and Reuters reported the reclusive nation is preparing for its sixth nuclear test, although it is currently considered capable of launching a nuclear device that could reach America. The US has ordered a navy strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to waters alongside the Korean peninsula.

"Gold and the Japanese Yen have strengthened as mounting geopolitical tensions continue to weigh on markets," said dealers at HiFX, in a note. "Overnight North Korea described the US deployment of a navy strike group to the Korean Peninsula as 'outrageous', and has warned that North Korea is ready to defend with any mode of war."

Spot gold, which along with the yen is perceived as a haven asset in times of reduced risk appetite, climbed 1.5 percent to US$1,273.01 an ounce overnight, the highest since early November.

Meanwhile, the US has said Russia is complicit in Syria's chemical weapon attack on rebels in its bloody civil war, and ahead of his arrival in Moscow, Tillerson said the reign of Syria's Bashar al-Assad is coming to an end and that he hopes Russia will conclude "that they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner."

The kiwi fell to 55.64 British pence from 55.96 pence after a UK inflation measure for March unexpectedly held up at 2.3 percent, the highest in more than three years.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at 92.72 Australian cents from 92.69 cents yesterday. It traded at 65.57 euro cents from 65.64 cents yesterday and fell to 4.7901 Chinese yuan from 4.7992 yuan.







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