* Yen hits nearly five-month highs vs dollar
* Dollar dips with U.S. Treasury yields
* Sterling rises after strong UK wage growth
(Updates to U.S. market open, adds data, quote, changes
dateline, previous LONDON)
By Dion Rabouin
NEW YORK, April 12 The dollar was little changed
on Wednesday after falling to a nearly five-month low against
the Japanese yen as worries over geopolitical tensions checked
investors' risk appetite.
The flight to safety underpinned traditional safe havens
like the yen, U.S. Treasuries and gold amid new concerns about
France's presidential election and the United States' relations
with Syria and North Korea.
The yen gained more than 1 percent on Tuesday, its biggest
one-day rise in three months against the dollar, with the
greenback falling below 110 yen for the first time since
mid-November. On Wednesday, the dollar touched its lowest
against the yen since Nov. 17.
The yen also reached its highest against the euro
since mid-November and against sterling since January.
Trading was largely muted on Wednesday as safe-haven demand
kept U.S. Treasury yields lower and investors saw little reason
to make major moves in the currency market.
"The dollar is still looking a little soft as it has over
the past few days, and a lot of it’s on the back of U.S. yields
(falling)," said Dave Bradley, director of FX trading at Scotia
Capital in Toronto.
Yields on the benchmark U.S. 10-year note have
dipped to near three-month lows this week as safe-haven demand
tied to geopolitical worries has boosted buying.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against six major currencies, fell to 100.55, its lowest in five
"Risk sentiment is not strong at the moment because of
tensions in North Korea and also risk of a recent rising
(far-left French presidential candidate Jean-Luc) Melenchon,"
said Nomura currency strategist Yujiro Goto in London. "Those
are having a negative impact on risk sentiment and also
However, the dollar did get support from a rise in oil
prices, Goto added. "I think that's generally good for risk
sentiment and negative for the yen."
Brent oil extended gains into an eighth straight session on
Wednesday after Saudi Arabia was said to be pushing fellow
members of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and
some rivals to prolong supply cuts beyond June.
The pound was the largest gainer against the dollar
among major currencies on Wednesday, adding 0.25 percent after
data showed stronger-than-expected UK wage growth. Sterling also
rose modestly against the euro.
(Reporting by Dion Rabouin; Additional reporting by Ritvik
Carvalho and Jemima Kelly in London; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)