The yen and Swiss franc rose against most of their major counterparts after Japan raised the severity rating for the nuclear crisis that began last month and more earthquakes shook buildings in Tokyo, discouraging demand for higher-yielding assets.
“Yen-buying pressure may intensify against a backdrop of Japanese investors’ risk reduction and a worldwide equity downward correction,” said Junya Tanase, chief currency strategist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Tokyo. “We expect dollar- yen to decline towards 80 in coming several weeks.”
The IMF lowered its 2011 forecast for Japanese growth to 1.4 percent from 1.6 percent in its World Economic Outlook report yesterday, citing effects from the disaster.
Canada’s dollar slid versus the U.S. dollar after the Bank of Canada held its target rate for overnight loans between commercial banks at 1 percent, where it has been since September.
The pound slumped to its weakest against the euro in almost six months as the U.K.’s inflation unexpectedly slowed in March, discouraging the Bank of England from raising interest rates.
Consumer prices rose 4 percent from a year earlier, down from a 4.4 percent pace in February.
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in February from a seven-month high as demand for imports decreased for the first time in four months.
The gap shrank to $45.8 billion from $47 billion in January, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington.
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