Yen dips as stocks rally and Ukraine tensions ease
Tokyo: The yen eased in Asia on Tuesday as news that pro-Russian rebels had handed over the black boxes of Flight MH17 eased concerns about the Ukraine crisis.
The losses in the Japanese unit, which is considered a safe bet in times of economic and political uncertainty, were in line with a regional stock market rally as confidence returned to trading markets.
In the early afternoon the dollar bought 101.47 yen, up from 101.38 yen in New York Monday afternoon, while the euro fetched 137.23 yen compared with 137.10 yen. The single currency was also at $1.3525 against $1.3523.
Thursday`s downing of the Malaysia Airlines jet hit global markets as it fuelled fears of an escalation of the months-long crisis in Ukraine, with western leaders saying it was shot down by rebels using Russian-supplied missiles.
However, on Tuesday it emerged the separatists had given the plane`s two black boxes to Malaysian officials and announced a ceasefire with a 10 kilometre (six mile) radius around the crash site to allow a international probe.
They also allowed a train carrying the remains of 280 of the 298 people killed in the disaster to leave the region.
The news boosted Asian markets, with Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai all up around one percent in the afternoon.
Despite the breakthrough European Union foreign ministers will meet in Brussels Tuesday to discuss toughening sanctions against Russia over its links to the militants.
Investors are keeping an eye on the release later Tuesday of US inflation data. A strong reading could boost the dollar as it could prompt the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates sooner than later.
Fed chief Janet Yellen last week told lawmakers the bank could raise rates more quickly than expected if jobs data is unexpectedly strong. But she emphasised the shift would be entirely data dependent.
Existing home sales are also due out in the United States on Tuesday.
Traders are also keeping watch on events in the Middle East as Israel undertakes a ground invasion of Gaza following air strikes and shelling that have left more than 570 Palestinians dead.