The Japanese yen exchange traded fund (ETF) is soaring to new heights this morning, while the currency backing it is hitting levels not seen in 13 years and producing unheard-of volatility.
A worldwide stock selloff has led to investors dumping high-yielding assets and pay back low-cost loans in Japan, say Ye Xie and Agnes Lovasz for Bloomberg. The unwinding of the carry trade led to the yen surging to its highest point against the euro in six years.
It’s been an overall stellar week for the yen ETF, which is up 4.6% and up 8.3% in one month. The yen itself is up 8.6% against the dollar this week, the biggest gain since October 1998. It’s up 13% against the euro, the biggest weekly gain ever. The euro is down 5.1% against the dollar.
Back in 1995, the yen touched a post-World War II high of 79.75 against the dollar that prompted the G7 to intervene by buying the dollar in order to stabilize the markets. Today, the yen is 93.19.
The flight to the yen makes sense in volatile markets, as it’s considered among the safest currencies, reports Parmy Olson for Forbes. The biggest currency declines this week have been in Europe: the Turkish lira is down 12% against the dollar, the Polish zloty by 12%, the Brazilian real by 11%. Emerging market currencies have fallen between 6% and 7%. The Hong Kong dollar has fared the best, because it’s pegged to the greenback.