* Fresh uncertainty towards French elections adds to risk
* Yen stands at five-month highs vs dollar, euro, sterling
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, April 12 The dollar languished at a
five-month low versus the yen early on Wednesday, as simmering
geopolitical tensions checked risk appetite and put the
safe-haven Japanese currency in favour.
The dollar was at 109.745 yen after touching 109.535
earlier in the session, its lowest since Nov. 17.
The U.S. currency had slid more than 1 percent the previous
day from highs of 110.920, dragged down by a sharp drop in U.S.
"There was a lot of bids and option barriers lined up around
110 yen, so a breach of this level shows how widespread the
latest dollar selling was," said Junichi Ishikawa, senior forex
strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.
"The yen's gains against the euro also bears watching, with
uncertainty towards the French presidential elections clearly
the driving factor."
The euro, which sank more than 1 percent overnight,
extended losses and touched a five-month low of 116.160 yen
Investors' flight-to-safety underpinned traditional
safe-havens like the yen and Treasuries amid fresh concerns
about the French presidential election and possible U.S.
military action against Syria and North Korea.
On Tuesday, North Korean state media warned of a nuclear
attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression,
as a U.S. Navy strike group steamed toward the western Pacific -
a force U.S. President Donald Trump described as an "armada".
And in a new twist to the French elections, a far-left
veteran who had been written off as a long shot has now surged
into the top four, pushing some pollsters to calculate the most
extreme runoff scenarios.
While the euro sagged against the yen, it fared better
versus the struggling dollar. The common currency was up 0.1
percent at $1.0610, adding to modest overnight gains.
It was a similar story for the pound, which retreated to a
near five-month low of 136.85 yen but edged up against
the dollar. Sterling was steady at $1.2490 after
gaining about 0.6 percent overnight.
The Australian dollar, sensitive to shifts in broader risk
appetite, was up slightly at $0.7503 after dropping to
a near three-month trough of $0.7475 the previous day.