The yen traded near a one-month low to the dollar on Tuesday as safe-havens fell out of favor following Wall Street’s rally to a record high overnight, with Omicron uncertainty consigned to the background.
The Japanese currency weakened as far as 114.935 yen per dollar for the first time since Nov. 26, approaching the year-to-date low of 115.525 reached Nov. 24.
The S&P 500 ended at a record high on Monday after strong U.S. retail sales data eased worries from the highly infectious Omicron coronavirus variant, which has forced thousands of flight cancellations and delays over the holidays and stranded cruise ships.
The U.S. dollar, also viewed as a safe-haven, continued to languish toward the bottom end of its recent trading range versus a basket of peers, even after a hawkish tilt at the Federal Reserve that had policy makers signaling three quarter-point interest rate increases next year.
The dollar index, which measures the currency against six major rivals, was little changed from the previous session at 96.076.
“Markets globally are optimistic” that Omicron won’t derail an economic recovery, denting demand for haven currencies, predominantly the yen, said Osamu Takashima, head of G10 FX strategy at Citigroup Global Markets Japan.
The U.S. equities rally “implies that currently investor risk appetite must be very, very strong” despite expectations for faster Fed tightening, he said.
The yen is likely to test its 2021 low in the near term, he predicted.
Sterling, which often rises when risk sentiment improves, held close to the one-month high of $1.3445 reached overnight.
The Australian dollar, often considered a liquid proxy of risk appetite, inched up back toward a three-week high at $0.6850, reached Friday.
The euro consolidated near the top of its range against the dollar this month, little changed from Monday at $1.13255.