Sunday, February 20, 2011

nvestors Turn to Swiss Franc as Middle East Tensions Escalate

As geopolitical tensions rise in the Middle East and now Northern Africa, in Asian trading the safe haven Swiss Franc is holding steady against the U.S. Dollar near to a 2-week peak. As reported at 2:36 p.m. (JST) in Tokyo, the U.S. Dollar was trading at 0.9505 Swiss Francs, after falling yesterday to 0.9474 Swiss Francs. The Euro, too, was lower against the Swiss currency, trading at 1.2922 Swiss Francs, following yesterday’s drop to 1.2890 Swiss Francs, a 2-week low.

The U.S. Dollar has been under pressure since yesterday’s release of higher than expected claims for initial unemployment benefits. Those figures pushed aside any speculation that the Federal Reserve might soon consider an interest rate hike. The U.S. Dollar Index, a gauge of the greenback’s strength versus a weighted basket of currencies, at one point in the trading session slipped to 77.921 .DXY, a 1-week low, before rebounding to 78.001 .DXY. Analysts attribute the decline in the Index not only to the unemployment data, but to the slight decline in U.S. Treasury bond yields.

Later today, markets will turn their attention to Paris, where Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, will be one of the speakers at the G20 summit of finance ministers which begins today through tomorrow.

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