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“Safe” Swiss franc strengthens

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by Elaine Frei

In currency markets on Monday, the Swiss franc once again lived up to its reputation as a safe investment in times of financial uncertainty as investors tried to lessen their exposure to risk. Meanwhile, the US dollar weakened again as analysts were divided on whether the greenback would continue to weaken or if it would rather begin to strengthen again on problems with the euro and yen.

The US dollar dropped 0.8 percent versus the Swiss franc to SFr1.2063, and it lost 0.5 percent to the euro to $1.2837. Meanwhile, the Swiss franc added 0.4 percent in relation to the euro to SFr1.5484.

The Japanese yen was also weaker on Monday when new gross domestic product data and uncertain signals from the Bank of Japan on what it intends to do about interest rates did nothing to reverse the trend of investors to sell the yen.

The Japanese currency dropped 0.6 percent to ¥143.54 versus the euro, and it lost 0.2 percent to the US dollar to ¥111.80.

Declines in equities markets in Asia did not help currencies in the region. The Indonesian rupiah dropped 1.3 percent to Rp9,310 versus the greenback, while the Thai baht dropped 1 percent to Bt38.40 and the South Korean won lost 0.7 percent to Won 952.20. The Australian dollar dropped 1.1 percent to its US counterpart, to $0.7500. The South African rand declined as well, losing 0.5 percent to R6.6000 to the US dollar.

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News posted: May 22, 2006

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