The yen strengthened to a three-week high against the dollar in Currency Trading Accounts as concerns about Europe’s debt crisis and China’s efforts to cool its economy boosted demand for Japan’s currency as a refuge.
The yen advanced against all of its 16 major counterparts as ministers from the 27 European Union countries are set to give formal approval today to an Irish aid package announced on Nov. 28. Asian stocks fell as the China Securities Journal reported today that the period around this weekend may be a “window” for China to raise interest rates.
Demand for the Australian dollar was limited after the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged.
The yen rose to 82.35 per dollar as of 12:41 p.m. in Tokyo from 82.66 in New York yesterday. It earlier touched 82.34 per dollar, the strongest since Nov. 12. The yen was at 109.90 per euro from 110. The dollar fell to $1.3347 per euro from $1.3308 yesterday, when it touched $1.3442, the lowest since Nov. 23.
Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said a European bailout fund might be expanded, breaking ranks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He said European finance ministers meeting in Brussels will discuss Portugal’s outlook amid concern it will need aid.
The euro slid 6.9 percent in November, its biggest monthly drop since May, as Ireland accepted an 85 billion-euro ($113 billion) bailout package from the EU and International Monetary Fund. The Irish government will lay out details today of 6 billion euros of spending cuts and tax increases. Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s Fianna Fail party has a minority of seats in parliament and may struggle to pass the budget.