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Yen Up as Washington and Pyongyang Spar, US Dollar Eyeing Yellen

Yen Up as Washington and Pyongyang Spar, US Dollar Eyeing Yellen

Talking Points:

  • Japanese Yen gains as Nikkei drops on US/North Korea tensions
  • NZ Dollar sinks as ANZ says business confidence hit 2-year low
  • Confident speech from Fed Chair Yellen might boost US Dollar

The Yen outperformed in Asia Pacific trade as Japanese shares slumped amid worries about escalating tensions between the US and North Korea, offering a boost to the perennially anti-risk currency. The New Zealand Dollar fell after ANZ bank said business confidence plunged to a two-year low in September. The currency fell with short-term local bond yields, hinting the data hurt the RBNZ policy outlook.

From here, a quiet economic data docket in European and US hours puts a much-anticipated speech form Fed Chair Janet Yellen in the spotlight. A confident tone – particularly on the subject of reflation – may boost bets on another rate hike before year-end. Traders price the probability of such an outcome at just 63 percent, leaving ample room for greater certitude to drive the US Dollar upward.

Sentiment trends also bear monitoring. Back-channel efforts are almost certainly underway to de-escalate tensions. Rhetoric to that effect emerging out of Washington DC and/or Pyongyang might trigger a brisk risk-on reversal. Traders seem be betting on just that, with FTSE 100 and S&P 500 futures tellingly flat, hinting the panic may have fizzled. The war of words may heat up just as well however, adding to Yen gains.

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Asia Session

European Session

** All times listed in GMT. See the full DailyFX economic calendar here.

--- Written by Ilya Spivak, Currency Strategist for

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DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.