- Yen rises to 1-month high; Swiss franc hits 3-month peak.
- U.S COVID-19 infections rise, fears of 2nd wave mount.
- US jobless claims fall, producer prices rise.
- Graphic: World FX rates in 2019.
NEW YORK: The safe-haven dollar, yen and Swiss franc gained on Thursday as US stocks fell sharply amid diminished expectations that the global economy would recover swiftly from the coronavirus pandemic.
The yen rose to a one-month high against the dollar, while the Swiss franc climbed to a fresh three-month peak.
The dollar index, though, was higher on the day, as investors sold currencies associated with risk-taking such as the euro, sterling and the Australian dollar.
The market took its cue from the US stock market, which in early afternoon trading was down sharply.
"This historic gain in equities is getting a reality check. There are some concerns about re-infections, but my thought is that today is not so much different from the beginning of the week," said John Doyle, vice president of trading and dealing at Tempus Inc. in Washington.
"But perhaps because of how fast and how hard equities have gone up and the dollar has gone down, traders are looking for an excuse to take profits and take them off their highs and the dollar off their lows," he added.
Since late May, with better-than-expected economic data and as economies and US states started to re-open, the dollar has fallen 3.5% against the currency basket.
Safe-haven currencies earlier gained ground after the Federal Reserve issued a dire outlook on Wednesday.
The Fed, after a two-day meeting, signaled it plans years of extraordinary support for the US economy, which policymakers project will shrink by 6.5% in 2020, with the unemployment at 9.3%.
Investors were also worried about new coronavirus infections as the world gradually reopened following shutdowns aimed at curbing the spread of the disease.
In the United States, new infections are rising slightly after five weeks of declines, according to a Reuters analysis. Part of the increase is due to more testing, which hit a record high on June 5 of 545,690 tests in a single day but has since fallen.
In early afternoon trading, the dollar fell 0.3% against the yen to 106.76 yen, after earlier dropping to a one-month trough.
The dollar also slid to a three-month low versus the Swiss franc of 0.9399 franc, and was last down 0.3% at 0.9412 franc.
Against a basket of currencies,, however, the dollar rose 0.4% to 96.556, led by gains versus the euro.
The euro dropped 0.5% to $1.1315.
High-beta currencies heavily geared toward global growth, such as the Australian dollar and the Norwegian crown, led losers, falling more than 1% against the dollar.