Yen Falls, Euro Gains as U.K. Polls Tip Toward Staying in EU

  • First survey after politician’s murder puts ‘Remain’ in lead
  • Japanese currency drops for first time in seven days

The yen fell for the first time in seven days as investor appetite for higher-yielding currencies improved after the latest U.K. polls suggested Britons will vote to stay in the European Union in a June 23 referendum.

The euro rose for a second day after the first survey taken after the murder of pro-European lawmaker Jo Cox showed the “Remain” camp gaining momentum, reversing a trend of the previous week, when a series of polls swung in favor of an exit from the bloc. The pound headed for its biggest jump since 2008, while other high-yielding currencies strengthened, such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars.

“We are seeing a reversal in the risk-off environment,” said Thu Lan Nguyen, a foreign-exchange strategist at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “That means that the safe havens are weakening. The euro meanwhile is strengthening as it has been suffering from the prospect of a Brexit, and because of its strong linkage to the U.K. it was put in the same box as the pound.”

The yen weakened 0.4 percent to 104.56 per dollar as of 7:40 a.m. New York time, in the biggest decline among its 15 major peers. The Japanese currency is still the group’s best-performer so far in June, as it has benefited from haven demand before the U.K. referendum.

The single currency climbed 0.5 percent to $1.1329, after rising 0.5 percent on Friday. The pound jumped 2 percent to $1.4650, the biggest jump since December 2008.

Investor attitudes in recent weeks have been influenced by Britain’s debate over whether to stay in the EU. Bookmakers’ odds suggest the chances of a ‘Leave’ vote have faded since the murder of Cox on June 16. A poll published over the weekend showed 45 percent of voters backed the ‘Remain’ camp, while 42 percent were in favor of a Brexit.

The Aussie climbed 0.9 percent to 74.52 U.S. cents, while the New Zealand dollar gained 0.8 percent to 71.07 cents.

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