Dollar hits postwar low vs yen as safety rules

AP News
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Posted: Aug 19, 2011 4:32 PM
Dollar hits postwar low vs yen as safety rules

The dollar hit a new post-World War II low against the Japanese yen Friday as investors flocked toward safety.

Because the dollar is still a comparative safe haven, it was only slightly weaker against other major currencies.

The yen, Swiss franc and gold have become the favored retreats for investors seeking safety in tumultuous markets as the risk of another recession grows. The dollar has lost some of its appeal due to concerns about slow growth and the country's ability to cut its deficit in the long term.

Gold, which some investors consider a substitute for paper currencies, hit a record high of $1,881.40.

Many economists from major banks have cut their growth forecasts.

Morgan Stanley on Thursday cut its forecast for this year and next, saying the U.S. and the 17 countries that use the euro were "hovering dangerously close to a recession."

JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup followed suit on Friday, cutting their forecasts for U.S. growth to anemic levels.

"The risks of a recession are clearly elevated," said JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli.

The dollar fell as low as 75.94 yen in trading Friday in New York, rebounding to 76.48 later but still down from its rate of 76.54 yen late Thursday. The dollar fell to 0.7879 Swiss franc from 0.7924 franc.

Switzerland and Japan both have tried to contain the rise in their currencies this month. A stronger currency can hurt exports and harm a nation's economy.

Switzerland's fight against the franc's rise has pushed more investors to buy yen, said Brown Brothers Harriman currency analyst Marc Chandler.

In other trading Friday, the euro rose to $1.4387 from $1.4319, while the British pound dipped to $1.6482 from $1.6496. The dollar slipped to 98.96 Canadian cents from 99.06 cents.