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The Swiss franc climbed to a record against the dollar and the yen strengthened to an almost three- week high as the uprising in Libya drove oil to a 29-month high, spurring demand for the safest assets.
Crude for April delivery topped $103 per barrel in New York, the highest since September 2008. Brent crude oil futures rose in London to $119.79 a barrel, the most since August 2008.
Currencies of commodity exporters such as Australia and Canada climbed.
The dollar reached the lowest in three weeks versus the euro amid speculation the European Central Bank will raise interest rates before the Federal Reserve. The yen breached 82 per dollar for the first time since Feb. 8 as U.S. Treasury yields traded near three-week lows, dimming the attraction of dollar-denominated assets.
“The situation in the Middle East is still playing out,” said Amelia Bourdeau, a currency strategist in Stamford, Connecticut, at UBS AG. “Between that and interest-rate differentials, that’s what’s driving the currencies.”
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