(Fixes lead to show biggest one-day rise against dollar, not
against euro or sterling)
* Yen off five-month highs vs dollar, euro, sterling and
* Fresh uncertainty towards French elections adds to risk
* Kiwi dollar at 4-week lows
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2017 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Ritvik Carvalho and Jemima Kelly
LONDON, April 12 The safe-haven yen steadied on
Wednesday after its biggest one-day rise in three months against
the dollar, as worries over geopolitical tensions checked
investors' risk appetite.
Investors' flight to safety underpinned traditional
safe-havens like the yen, U.S. Treasuries and gold, amid fresh
worries over France's presidential election and possible U.S.
military action against Syria and North Korea.
The Japanese currency had gained more than 1 percent on
Tuesday, with the dollar falling below 110 yen for the first
time since mid-November. It capped those gains in
European trade on Wednesday, trading a fraction lower at 109.65
yen to the dollar.
It was also a little lower against the euro after earlier
hitting 115.91. The New Zealand dollar - a gauge of
demand for risk - fell to 4-week lows, down 0.6 percent at
"Risk sentiment is not strong at the moment because of
tensions in North Korea and also risk of a recent rising
Melenchon at the French presidential election date. Those are
having a negative impact on risk sentiment and also dollar-yen,"
said Nomura currency strategist Yujiro Goto in London.
"But what's supporting a bit today is probably oil price
movements...the oil price is moving well so I think that's
generally good for risk sentiment and negative for the yen."
Brent oil extended gains into an eighth straight session on
Wednesday, after Saudi Arabia was said to be pushing its fellow
OPEC members and some rivals to prolong supply cuts beyond June.
The dollar fell on Tuesday and continued to stay under
pressure on Wednesday, up less than 0.1 percent against a basket
of major currencies at 100.71.
In European trade it had come off those highs but was still
up 0.1 percent on the day, at 109.625.
The Syrian conflict has been the centre of concern for
investors as it puts the United States on a collision course
with Moscow, allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Fraying
nerves further, North Korea warned on Tuesday of a nuclear
attack on the United States.
"What is more surprising (than the yen's gain) is that the
dollar, which is usually in demand in uncertain times, has not
been able to appreciate. That is probably mainly due to the fact
that the United States is at the centre of these geopolitical
risks," Commerzbank currency strategists wrote in a note to
And in a new twist to the French elections, a far-left
veteran - Jean-Luc Melenchon who had been written off as a long
shot has now surged into the top four, pushing some pollsters to
calculate the most extreme runoff scenarios.
The euro was off 0.1 percent against the dollar to $1.0599
For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock
markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets
(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; additional reporting by Jemima
Kelly and Tokyo markets team; Editing by Andrew Heavens)