SINGAPORE (AFP) – The yen held on to most of its gains against the dollar and the euro Wednesday as investors sought safe haven owing to growing concerns about Greece’s political crisis.
The euro bought 145.29 yen in early Singapore trade, compared with 145.20 yen in New York but well down from 146.15 yen in Asia earlier Tuesday.
The dollar was at 119.43 yen against 119.45 yen in US trade and 120.42 yen earlier Tuesday in Tokyo.
The euro stood at $1.2165 – near two year lows – from $1.2154 in New York.
Markets in Tokyo, Jakarta, Manila, Seoul and Bangkok were closed for public holidays.
“The recent catalyst for euro weakness has been the resurgence of political risk in Greece,” Canada’s Scotiabank said in a market commentary.
Political turmoil in Greece returned to the centre stage this week when lawmakers failed to endorse a new president, forcing the government to call a snap election for next month.
There are fears the hard-left Syriza party will win and reverse policies required under the IMF-EU bailout of the country, in turn hitting the already troubled eurozone economy.
On Tuesday Prime Minister Antonis Samaras warned that a win for Syriza could lead to Greece leaving the currency bloc.
“This struggle will determine whether Greece stays in Europe,” Samaras said, as he asked the outgoing president to dissolve parliament ahead of an election set for January 25.
Analysts said trading volumes were thin with many dealers away ahead of the New Year’s Day holiday on Thursday.