Dollar touches five-year high as Asian markets remain mix
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Dollar touches five-year high as Asian markets remain mix

Last Updated: Friday, December 20, 2013, 08:16
 
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Dollar touches five-year high as Asian markets remain mix
Hong Kong: Asian shares were mixed on Friday and the dollar touched a new five-year high against the yen after the Federal Reserve said it would start to wind down its stimulus programme next month.

Despite the weaker yen, Japan`s Nikkei sank after jumping more than four percent to a six-year high over the previous three sessions.

Tokyo eased 0.44 percent, Sydney rose 0.88 percent, Seoul added 0.14 percent and Hong Kong slipped 0.19 percent, while Shanghai was 0.25 percent lower.

Global investors broadly welcomed the Fed`s decision Wednesday to reduce its bond-buying by a modest USD 10 billion a month to USD 75 billion while pledging to keep interest rates at record lows for the foreseeable future.

The move indicated the central bank is confident the world`s number one economy is becoming strong enough to stand on its own feet as it recovers from the financial crisis.

On Wall Street Thursday the Dow edged up 0.07 percent to another record but the S&P 500 dipped 0.06 percent after hitting an all-time high on Wednesday, while the Nasdaq lost 0.29 percent.

All three indexes had surged on Wednesday after the Fed announcement.

While the cut will mean less cash sloshing around the financial system and therefore a likely withdrawal of funds from emerging economies, analysts said the fact it was so small provided investors with some comfort.

The dollar continued to benefit Friday from the so-called taper, touching 104.43 yen in early Tokyo trade -- a high not seen since early October 2008.

It eased a tad to sit at 104.33 yen late in the morning, still up from 104.22 yen in New York Thursday.

"The yen doesn`t seem to stand much of a chance these days after the Fed tapered stimulus," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

"With the Fed`s most accommodative days likely in the rear-view mirror, Japanese authorities appear poised to ramp up stimulus next year to keep one of the world`s biggest economies from unravelling."

There is growing speculation that the Bank of Japan will announce a widening of its own stimulus programme launched in April as part of a drive to kick-start growth in the world`s number three economy.

In other currency trades, the euro bought USD 1.3639 and 142.31 yen against USD 1.3661 and 142.41 yen.

On oil markets New York`s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for February delivery, was down 21 cents at USD 98.83 in early Asian trading while Brent North Sea crude for February eased 22 cents to USD 110.07.

Gold fetched USD 1,194.83 at 0210 GMT compared with USD 1,205.05 late Thursday.



AFP

First Published: Friday, December 20, 2013, 08:16


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