By Suryatapa Bhattacharya
TOKYO--The Japanese yen was little-changed against the dollar late Tuesday in Asia after strengthening earlier after a 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit off the northeastern coast of Japan early in the morning.
The dollar was at 110.82 yen as of 0550 GMT, compared with Y110.84 late Monday in New York, according to EBS. Immediately following the quake the market became "risk-averse," triggering yen-buying, said Tohru Sasaki, head of FX research with J.P. Morgan in Tokyo.
The dollar fell as low as Y110.27 as investors waited for updates on a tsunami warning that followed the earthquake.
The dollar's decline was likely also driven by Japanese exporters who had been waiting for an opportune moment to sell dollars, said Koji Fukaya, chief executive of FPG Securities in Tokyo.
"Japanese exporters are very comfortable right now selling the dollar against the yen," Mr. Fukaya said.
There was also some profit-taking on the dollar's recent gains ahead of a public holiday Wednesday in Japan, and the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, he said.
But once it became clear the damage from the earthquake -- which took place near the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant -- was limited, the stock market rebounded and the dollar recovered. Any lasting impact from the earthquake on the foreign-exchange market is expected to be minimal, Mr. Fukaya said.
Meanwhile, the dollar was still supported by continued post U.S.-election optimism that lifted U.S. shares to record highs overnight. And while selloffs of long-term U.S. Treasurys eased, analysts said the U.S. bond market remains vulnerable to selling pressure, which could lead to higher yields and more dollar-buying.
The British pound was at $1.2489, compared with $1.2492 late Monday in New York. The euro was at $1.0628 versus $1.0631.
Interbank Foreign Exchange Rates At 00:50 EST / 0550 GMT
Latest Previous %Chg Daily Daily %Chg
Dollar Rates Close High Low 12/31
USD/JPY Japan 110.76-77 110.82-83 -0.06 110.89 110.28 -7.92
EUR/USD Euro 1.0631-34 1.0628-31 +0.03 1.0651 1.0625 -2.10
GBP/USD U.K. 1.2495-97 1.2492-94 +0.02 1.2514 1.2482 -15.20
USD/CHF Switzerland 1.0091-95 1.0085-89 +0.06 1.0098 1.0068 +0.73
USD/CAD Canada 1.3401-06 1.3415-20 -0.10 1.3426 1.3397 -3.14
AUD/USD Australia 0.7403-07 0.7366-70 +0.50 0.7405 0.7361 +1.62
NZD/USD New Zealand 0.7072-78 0.7062-68 +0.14 0.7086 0.7061 +3.54
EUR/JPY Japan 117.75-79 117.77-81 -0.02 117.88 116.46 -9.95
Source: ICAP PLC
Write to Suryatapa Bhattacharya at [email protected]