Yen and gold rise as investors seek havens

Currency traders work at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. Photo / AP
Currency traders work at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. Photo / AP

The yen strengthened and gold rose, while stock markets fell as US presidential election results showed the possibility of a win by Donald Trump, sending investors to so-called safe haven assets.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 2.4 per cent to 6,732.41 at 4.05pm, having traded higher most of the day. Stocks fell across Asia dropped this afternoon with the Nikkei 225 Index down 2.2 per cent, the Hang Seng falling 1.7 per cent, and the S&P/ASX 200 Index 1.7 per cent lower. The Mexican peso had its biggest one-day drop since 1994's Tequila crisis, falling around 8 per cent against the US dollar, on the prospects of a US president who has threatened to build a security wall to keep Mexicans out.

Clinton is seen as the safe candidate, while Trump's trade policy and volatility create uncertainty which investors hate. The New York Times most recently forecast Republican candidate Donald Trump has a 68 per cent chance of winning the presidency, having swapped from preferring Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's chances just before 3:30pm New Zealand time.

Safe-haven global currencies such as the Japanese yen strengthened against the US dollar this afternoon. The yen strengthened to a month-high of 102.01 against the dollar while spot gold climbed 2.3 per cent. New Zealand two-year swaps were down 5 basis points to 2.15 per cent while 10-year swaps are unchanged at 2.92.

Global markets became increasingly unsettled last month at the prospect of Trump succeeding in his bid for the White House, following a letter from FBI director James Comey on Oct. 29 announcing the FBI was reviewing emails belonging to Clinton found in the unrelated investigation into Anthony Weiner. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, or VIX, known as Wall Street's fear gauge, rose to a five-month high at its last trade on Nov. 4.

On Monday morning local time, the FBI confirmed no criminal charges are warranted against Clinton, pushing markets higher and causing the VIX to drop 16.9 per cent, its biggest fall since June.

- BusinessDesk

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