Japanese yen rises as investors seek safe havens after Abe shooting | Financial markets

The Japanese currency rose to 135.33 per dollar after the hospitalization of the former Japanese Prime Minister.

The Japanese yen rose on Friday as investors sought refuge following reports that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had been shot dead.

The yen rose to 135.33 to the dollar after Abe was taken to hospital after being shot by a man with a shotgun while delivering a speech in the western city of Nara.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 fell, undoing an earlier advance of 1.4%.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said he was unaware of Abe’s condition, but Japanese broadcaster NHK said the 67-year-old former leader had suffered cardiac arrest.

Abe, who resigned in 2020 after his second term as prime minister, spearheaded a series of economic policies, known as “Abenomics”, which aimed to pull Japan’s economy out of more than decades of stagnation through monetary easing, stimulus spending and structural reforms.

The yen run came as the euro languished at a 20-year low on fears that Europe was on the verge of a recession.

“Abe’s shootout this morning pushed USD/JP lower to 135.35, but it’s already recovering, rising to 135.65,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia- Pacific at OANDA, in a note. “Despite the tragedy of these events, I do not expect them to provide anything other than temporary strength.”

The Australian dollar rose 0.3% on Friday to $0.6850, while the pound, although down 0.3% this week, rebounded somewhat overnight following the resignation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The New Zealand dollar rose 0.3% to $0.6192.