The euro fell by the most in 11 months against the yen as rising Spanish borrowing costs boosted concern the region’s sovereign-debt crisis in worsening.
The US dollar posted weekly gains against most of its major counterparts, as demand for safety increased. Higher-yielding currencies, led by South Africa’s rand, fell as a report showed US employers added the fewest jobs in five months last month, which fueled concern the US economic recovery was slowing and underscored bets the US Federal Reserve would introduce further stimulus.
The yen rose against all of its major peers ahead of a Bank of Japan meeting on Tuesday.
“The rain has come from Spain,” said Alan Ruskin, global head of G10 foreign-exchange strategy at Deutsche Bank AG in New York. “The austerity policy is so harsh that it could undermine their own capacity to deliver better fiscal numbers. The Spain story is front and center” for the euro.
The 17-nation euro dropped 3.4 percent to ￥106.86 in New York, its biggest weekly loss since May last year. The shared currency fell 1.9 percent to US$1.3096, reaching US$1.3035 on Thursday, its lowest level since March 15. The US dollar weakened 1.5 percent to ￥81.64.
The rand and Sweden’s krona declined the most against the US dollar among the 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg. South Africa’s currency slumped 2.7 percent to 7.8834 per US dollar, while the krona lost 2.1 percent to 6.7522.
The Swiss franc strengthened to SF1.19995 per euro on Thursday, breaking the Swiss National Bank-imposed ceiling of SF1.20 per euro. It appreciated 0.3 percent this week, rising for a third week, to SF1.2010 per euro. It lost 1.6 percent to SF0.9173 per US dollar.
The Swiss central bank set a limit of 1.20 francs per euro on Sept. 6 last year to protect exports after investors turned to the Swiss franc as a haven from Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis. The bank won’t allow the franc to rise above the ceiling and is ready to buy foreign currencies in unlimited quantities, spokesman Walter Meier said by telephone on Thursday.
The euro slid 1.1 percent this week, the second-worst performer after the krona among the 10 developed-nation currencies tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes. The yen has gained 2.6 percent and the US dollar has appreciated 0.9 percent.
The Dollar Index, which Intercontinental Exchange Inc uses to track the greenback against the currencies of six US major trading partners, gained 1.1 percent to 79.839, halting three consecutive weeks of losses.
The pound gained for a second week versus the euro, rising to ￡0.8238 on Thursday, from ￡0.8327 on March 30. The British currency dropped 0.8 percent to US$1.5838.