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Kiwi falters vs yen after US strikes Syria

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/04/2017 Jonathan Underhill

The New Zealand dollar faltered against the yen on Friday after a US missile strike against the Syrian regime, sapping risk appetite and stoking demand for safe-havens such as Japan's currency and US Treasuries.

The kiwi fell to 77.05 yen at 5pm from 77.17 yen at the start of the day, leaving it little changed from 77.04 yen Thursday.

Crude oil rose, US Treasuries rallied and the yen gained after US President Donald Trump ordered the first direct American military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

US warships fired as many as 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian government airbase in retaliation for a gas attack on the rebel-held northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun.

News of the attack emerged as Trump prepared to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where trade and North Korea are expected to top the agenda.

"Today's excitement was indeed the missiles. It was a risk-off event - the yen was the sharpest mover, and US Treasuries," said Imre Speizer, senior markets strategist at Westpac.

Unless the reaction to the attack flares up again during London trading, "it seems to have stalled for now".

Traders are awaiting US non-farm payrolls for March, due for release overnight and expected to show the world's largest economy added 180,000 jobs last month, down from 235,000 in February.

The kiwi rose to 65.49 euro cents from 65.28 cents after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said there was no reason to change the bank's policy of ultra-low interest rates and bond buying.

It rose to 55.93 British pence from 55.82 pence and gained to A92.60c from 92.33c, as the Aussie dollar fell more sharply against the yen. The kiwi rose to 4.8111 yuan from 4.8073 yuan.

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