By Hiroyuki Kachi
The yen strengthened more than 3% to a one-month high, while the Mexican peso tumbled to all-time low, in early afternoon Asia trade on Wednesday, with investors upset by the thus far unexpected results from the U.S. presidential race.
A roar of frantic shouts could be heard on trading floors amid wild gyrations in the yen, said a senior bank dealer in Tokyo. "It's getting just like it was on the day of the Brexit shock," said the dealer.
The dollar's gyration against the yen from early election headlines was reminiscent of the Brexit shock, said another Japanese bank dealer, recalling the dollar's plunge to Y99.00 on June 24. "Everyone is fretting over each and every election result," said the dealer. A potential Trump victory will likely cause knee-jerk buying into the yen, but "it's hard to foresee how far the dollar could fall," said the dealer.
The greenback nosedived to Y101.19, its lowest level since Sept. 30, before picking up slightly to Y101.22 around 0510 GMT, much lower than Y105.15 late Tuesday in New York.
Many currency market watchers expected Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to win, which they expected would provide greater policy clarity and less uncertainty on trade negotiations. In addition, her victory is expected to be less disruptive for markets and therefore more supportive of a U.S. interest-rate increase in December.
But a victory by Republican nominee Donald Trump would usher in a period of uncertainty given his lack of political experience and his views on trade protectionism, thus prompting investors to seek the perceived safety of the Japanese currency, traditionally bought in times of geopolitical and financial instability.
"The dollar may not fall below Y100 immediately," even assuming a potential Trump victory, said Nomura Securities chief FX strategist Yunosuke Ikeda in a note, noting that some hedge funds investors expect the magnitude of the impact of a Trump's victory won't be much bigger than the Brexit shock. Still, a Trump victory may send the dollar into a tailspin toward Y95 while a new administration is being formed, he said.
The yen strengthened against other peers. The euro was lower at Y114.35 midday from Y115.86, while the Australian dollar slipped to Y76.91 from Y81.63.
The euro shot up to $1.1300 in mid afternoon Asia session, its highest level since Sept. 8, from $1.1025 late Tuesday.
The Mexican peso, which has been highly sensitive to developments in the presidential race, plunged to all-time low of 20.74 pesos per dollar midday.
The WSJ Dollar Index, a measure of the U.S. dollar against a basket of major currencies, was down 0.72% at 87.30.
Interbank Foreign Exchange Rates At 00:50 EST / 0450 GMT
Latest Previous %Chg Daily Daily %Chg
Dollar Rates Close High Low 12/31
USD/JPY Japan 101.50-51 105.16-17 -3.48 105.46 101.45 -15.62
EUR/USD Euro 1.1250-53 1.1023-26 +2.06 1.1269 1.0991 +3.60
GBP/USD U.K. 1.2526-28 1.2379-81 +1.19 1.2528 1.2354 -14.99
USD/CHF Switzerland 0.9571-75 0.9777-81 -2.11 0.9834 0.9555 -4.46
USD/CAD Canada 1.3498-503 1.3286-91 +1.60 1.3502 1.3265 -2.44
AUD/USD Australia 0.7595-99 0.7761-65 -2.14 0.7772 0.7595 +4.25
NZD/USD New Zealand 0.7298-304 0.7382-88 -1.14 0.7394 0.7300 +6.85
EUR/JPY Japan 114.19-23 115.94-98 -1.51 116.04 113.71 -12.68
Source: Tullett Prebon
Write to Hiroyuki Kachi at Hiroyuki.Kachi@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 09, 2016 00:54 ET (05:54 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.