Yen Gains Sharply On North Korea Pacific Ocean Nuclear Test Remarks
The yen gained sharply in Asia on Friday as investors they digested an alarming report that North Korea could test a nuclear weapon over the Pacific Ocean with other attention onfixed on a policy speech on Brexit later in the day.
North Korean Foreigh]n Minister Ri Yong Ho said on Friday he believes the North could consider a hydrogen bomb test on the Pacific Ocean of an unprecedented scale, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
Ri was speaking to reporters in New York when he was asked what North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had meant when he threatened in an earlier statement the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" against the United States. North Korea could consider a hydrogen bomb test, Ri said, although he did not know Kim's exact thoughts, Yonhap reported.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell 0.12% to 91.86.
Overnight, sterling added to earlier gains against the greenback rising as market participants look ahead to a key speech from British Prime Minister Theresa May on Brexit slated for Friday.
The dollar fell against a basket of major currencies as the post-Fed rally faded despite a duo of economic reports showing manufacturing and labor market activity topped expectations.
The bullish manufacturing report beat forecasts for a reading of 18 amid economists' expectations that disruption due to Hurricane Harvey would dent national manufacturing.
The Philadelphia Fed said Thursday its manufacturing index rose to a reading of 23.8, a three-month high, from 18.9 in August.
Meanwhile, initial jobless claims decreased by 23,000 to 259,000 in the week ended Sept. 16, beating forecasts of a 18,000 decline, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.
The negative session for the greenback comes a day after it made strong gains following a somewhat hawkish Federal Reserve statement which stoked expectations for a year-end rate hike.
The "dot plot," part of the FOMC's Summary of Economic Projections, indicated that the central bank saw rates rising to between 1.25% and 1.5% by the end of the 2017. With rates steady at 1-1.25%, that points to one further rate hike this year.
The majority of traders - more than 70% - expect the rate hike in December, according to Investing.com's Fed rate monitor tool.
Losses in the greenback were limited, however, as the yen weakened in the wake of the Bank of Japan’s overnight decision to leave interest rates unchanged