Dollar extends lower versus yen over risk of US government shutdown

September 30, 2013

Sterling is strong on Monday and hit a near 9-month high against a basket of major currencies. The pound was chosen as a safe haven today against a weaker euro and dollar as political problems in Italy and the United States increased risk aversion amongst investors.

Also helping the pound was some UK data which showed mortgage approvals for house purchases hit their highest level in more than five years last month, a latest sign of recovery in the housing market. This raised expectations that the Bank of England will raise interest rates earlier than planned. 

The pound hit its highest since mid-January at 83.40 pence per euro today while against the dollar, it was up 0.15 percent at $1.6160.

The risk of a US government shutdown put the dollar under pressure, while the euro is down on the threat of fresh elections in Italy after the resignation of five ministers from former premier Silvio Berlusconi's party at the weekend.

The euro fell to $1.3478  before attempting to break above $1.3500, while it fell to a three-week low against the yen at 131.38 yen and was down 0.2 percent versus the Swiss franc at 1.2225.

The dollar was little changed in the European session after falling to a one month low versus yen as the midnight deadline approaches for a US government shutdown.  Deadlock in the US Congress over raising the US debt ceiling  has increased the risk that the government will run out of money from tomorrow.

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