News Column

Yen gains on Iraq conflict

June 16, 2014

Japanese stocks fell Monday in a mixed session for Asia, as concerns about an escalating conflict in Iraq drove the yen higher against the U.S. dollar.

Japan'sNikkei 225 index gave back 164.55 points, or 1.1%, to 14,933.25

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong dropped 18.50 points, or 0.1%, to 23,300.67

Iraq's descent into chaos, and concerns about a broader civil war, pushed oil prices higher and sent investors to the yen, Asia's safe-haven currency. A radical Sunni militia on Sunday claimed it had executed hundreds of Shiite Iraqi soldiers in a move that analysts said was intended to provoke further sectarian fighting.

Nymex crude oil for July gained 0.4% to $107.33 a barrel, adding to a 4.1% surge over the course of last week. The yen rose in Asian trade, with the American dollar last at 101.93, compared with 102.04 late Friday in New York.

Australian market ended up 0.1%, though some miners fell amid declining prices for spot iron ore, which slid 0.7% on Friday to a 21-month low.

Concerns over the use of iron ore as collateral for finance deals and allegations of fraud involving commodities stored in China continue to rattle the market.

Atlas Iron fell 4.2%, and Arrium lost 4.8% after it was downgraded to sell from hold by Deutsche Bank.


The Shanghai CSI 300 added 15.61 points, or 0.7%, to 2,191.86, as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. added 1.6% and China Oilfield Services rose by 2.6%.

In other markets;

In Korea, the Kospi index regained 2.74 points, or 0.1%, to 1,993.59

Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 2.99 points, or 0.1%, to 3,290.26

In Taiwan, the Taiex index recovered 6.54 points, or 0.1%, to 9,202.93

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 added 8.29 points, or 0.2%, to 5,178.80

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 index picked up 7.26 points, or 0.1%, to 5,412.32

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Source: Baystreet Foreign Markets Wrap (Canada)

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