The US dollar and the yen bounced higher on Friday in a flight to safety, lifted by mounting fears of a global recession that has pushed the Japanese currency to fresh highs.
The euro plunged to US$1.2623 around 9pm GMT from US$1.2926 late on Thursday in New York.
The euro plummeted against the yen to ¥118.98 from ¥125.73. The greenback slid to ¥94.24 from ¥97.27.
News of a record low in eurozone business activity and Britain on the brink of recession sent shockwaves through markets, sending investors fleeing for the shelter of the dollar and yen.
The yen often rises at times of financial turmoil as dealers unwind risky bets funded with cheap Japanese credit.
“The best word to describe what’s going on right now is panic,” Credit Suisse strategist Satoru Ogasawara said. “When you don’t know what will come next, you tend to flee to the safest place.”
The euro touched another new low against the dollar since October 2006, at US$1.2497 around 9:30am GMT. On Wednesday the euro had fallen below US$1.30 for the first time since February last year.
The euro has lost more than 20 percent of its value against the dollar since striking a record high US$1.6038 in mid-July.
The pound sank to US$1.5269, the lowest level since August 2002, after official data showed the British economy shrank by 0.5 percent in the third quarter, its lowest level since 1992, after zero growth in the second quarter.
In late New York trading, the pound plunged to US$1.5900 from US$1.6216 late on Thursday.
The dollar rose to 1.1662 Swiss francs from SF1.1589.
Asian currencies slumped this week, led by South Korea’s won and Indonesia’s rupiah, as stocks slid on concern a global recession will damp demand for the region’s exports.
The won had a sixth weekly decline as the central bank said Asia’s fourth-largest economy grew 0.6 percent last quarter, the slowest pace in four years.
The won dropped 6.3 percent this week to close at 1,424 per US dollar in Seoul, near the lowest level in a decade, according to Seoul Money Brokerage Services Ltd.
The New Taiwan dollar completed its biggest weekly loss in 10 years after a government report showed the export outlook worsened more than economists expected last month.
The currency fell for an eighth day on Friday, the longest losing streak since August, after the Ministry of Economic Affairs said export orders grew at the slowest pace in six years last month as demand from the US and China cooled.
The NT dollar slumped 2.65 percent this week to NT$33.412 against the US dollar, the biggest five-day loss since the period ended Jan. 10, 1998, according to Taipei Forex Inc. The NT dollar lost 0.4 percent on Friday.
Indonesia’s rupiah fell 4.1 percent this week to 10,225 per dollar in Jakarta, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rupiah touched 10,315 a dollar, the weakest since October 2005.
India’s rupee fell for an 11th week after the central bank cut the economic growth outlook for the year ending March 31 to as little as 7.5 percent from an earlier estimate of 8 percent.
The currency slid as much as 0.7 percent to 50.165 per dollar, an all-time low, before closing at 49.985 in Mumbai on Friday, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The Philippine peso lost 1.9 percent in the week to close at 48.991 per dollar in Manila, according to the Bankers Association of the Philippines. Exports make up about 40 percent of the Philippine economy.
Elsewhere, the Thai baht fell 1.3 percent versus the US dollar this week to 34.70 and the Singapore dollar dropped 1.9 percent to S$1.5105. Vietnam’s dong weakened 1.5 percent to 16,848.
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