Yen Resumes Gains as Asian Equities Turn Lower in Afternoon Trade

The Japanese yen resumed gains against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday in Asia as equity markets turned lower in early afternoon trade.

The USD/JPY pair lost 1.3% to 104.25 by 12:45 AM ET. The ASX 200 fell 3.6%, while the KOSPI plunged 3.2%. Other major indices in Asia also fell about 1% after opening mixed earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, the GBP/USD pair traded 0.6% higher to 1.1343 amid expectations that the U.K. will deliver a big stimulus package and measures later in the day during the budget announcement to help combat the Covid-19 outbreak.

“As part of the budget, as well as providing net stimulus for the economy and more support for the National Health Service, I hope the Chancellor will announce measures to ensure economic damage from this crisis doesn’t become more permanent,” Royal London Asset Management senior economist Melanie Baker said.

The AUD/USD pair was little changed at 0.6502, while the NZD/USD pair rose 0.3% to 0.6287.

The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies dropped 0.4% to 95.987 as traders await details of upcoming supportive economic measures. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said he would a news conference shortly to unveil the package.

Trump said overnight that he will ask Congress for a payroll tax cut and other “very major” stimulus moves, but the details remain unclear.

Separately, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also said the White House would meet with bank executives this week in a sign the U.S. government would roll out measures to cope with the virus./

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