Financial markets were in turmoil from growing expectations of imminent Western military action against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians.
US forces readied to strike Syria as the West insisted its goal was not regime change but to punish President Bashar al-Assad’s government for attacking civilians with chemical weapons.
“The possibility of a military strike on the country is growing by the minute and investors are worried that it could destabilize the region,” said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management.
The foreign exchange market was choppy, with the dollar losing ground against the euro late in the trading session.
Around 2100 GMT, the euro bought $1.3391, up slightly from $1.3369 at the same time Monday.
The Japanese yen benefited as investors rushed for shelter in the traditionally safe-haven currency from the geopolitical uncertainty.
The dollar fell to 97.01 yen from 98.51 yen late Monday, while the euro dropped to 129.88 yen from 131.68.
“Concerns over tension in Syria and potential for Fed tapering seem to be the main underlying themes driving the foreign exchange markets. The yen is higher, however, as money continues to flow out of emerging markets and into other currencies seen as safer places for investment,” said Zachary Griffiths at Wells Fargo Economics.
Griffiths pointed to bearish equity markets and predicted the greenback would likely gain as capital flows away from riskier assets.
The dollar fell to 0.9173 Swiss franc from 0.9230 franc late Monday.
The British pound slipped to $1.5542 from $1.5572. – Rappler.com