Yen Erases Drop as Traders Switch Focus to Europe’s Banking Woes

Updated on
  • Reaction to Trump-Clinton debate didn’t survive Europe morning
  • Concerns over Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen take center stage

The yen rebounded, erasing an earlier decline, as stocks fell and Deutsche Bank AG dropped to a fresh record.

The resurgence in demand for the relative safety of the Japanese currency showed the post-U.S. presidential debate effect inherited from Asian markets didn’t last long in the European day. Instead, renewed concerns over the health of the continent’s banking sector and the prospect of U.S. fines for Volkswagen AG came into play, reducing the yen’s fall.

It tumbled earlier from the strongest level in a month after a CNN/ORC poll following the first U.S. presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump showed 62 percent of viewers said Clinton won the contest, compared with 27 percent who gave the advantage to Trump. Aberdeen Asset Management Plc said higher-yielding assets would be hurt by a victory by the real-estate developer and reality TV star, while BK Asset Management recommended buying the yen if he won in December.

“There’s concern about the health of European banks -- risks are skewed to the upside for the yen,” said Lee Hardman, a foreign-exchange strategist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. “And despite the perceived result of the U.S. presidential debate, we expect the market to become more nervous if polls remain close.”

Ups and Downs

The yen rose 0.1 percent to 100.22 per dollar as of 9:23 a.m. in New York, having weakened as much as 0.7 percent after the debate.

Mexico’s peso -- used by many investors as a proxy for the U.S. election outcome -- was still the biggest gainer among 31 major currencies versus the dollar, jumping as much as 2.2 percent. It dropped to a record 19.9333 before the debate.

As Germany’s biggest bank and carmaker, the fates of Deutsche Bank and Volkswagen are crucial to the European economy. VW has been caught up in a test-cheating scandal, while the lender’s woes worsened in recent days when it was reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out state assistance before national elections in September 2017.

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