June 2, 2020 / 1:22 AM / a month ago

Safe-haven yen weakens, Aussie outperforms as risk appetite improves

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Japanese yen fell to a seven-week low against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday and higher-risk currencies including the Australian dollar jumped, as risk appetite grew on optimism that the worst of the economic downturn from the spread of the coronavirus is in the past.

FILE PHOTO: A Japan Yen note is seen in this illustration photo taken June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

U.S. stocks gained as cheer over business reopenings overcame concerns about U.S.-China tensions and mass protests across the United States over the death of an African-American man in police custody. [.N]

“The good times continue to roll in risk markets,” Mazen Issa, senior FX strategist at TD Securities, said in a report. “As intense as the rally has been, this is likely set to continue as the breadth of the equity rally has now spread outside the U.S.”

The greenback gained 1.06% against the Japanese yen JPY= to 108.72 yen, the highest since April 9.

The dollar index against a basket of major currencies =USD fell 0.15% to 97.73 after going as low as 97.43, the lowest since March 13.

The Australian AUD= dollar jumped 1.27% to $0.6883, after reaching $0.6894, the highest since January 20.

Australia’s central bank held rates at all-time lows on Tuesday and sounded less gloomy as the economy gradually reopens during what is likely to be the worst quarter since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The euro was supported by expectations that the European Central Bank will deliver more stimulus when it meets on Thursday.

A 1.85-trillion euro ($2.04 trillion) fiscal package proposed by the European Commission to lift the region’s economy eases the pressure to act speedily. Many economists nevertheless expect the 750 billion Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) to increase by 500 billion euros. ABN Amro thinks it will double in size.

The single currency EUR= rose 0.27% to $1.1164 after earlier reaching $1.1195, the highest since March 16.

Sterling GBP= climbed above $1.25 to its highest in a month against the dollar on Tuesday, as signs that Britain might be willing to compromise on sticking points in a fresh round of Brexit negotiations with the European Union provided support.

Reporting by Karen Brettell; additional reporting by Olga Cotaga in London; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski

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