The yen rose from recent multi-year lows against the dollar and euro on Monday as renewed worries about the global economy spurred traders to sell riskier investments funded by the cheap Japanese currency.
Commodities-linked currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars declined more than 1 percent against the U.S. currency, as gold prices plunged below $1,400 an ounce, dragging commodity prices lower across the board.
China's economic recovery unexpectedly stumbled in the first three months of 2013, data showed on Monday. Disappointing news on manufacturing growth in New York state and on U.S. homebuilder sentiment added to concern the global economy may be losing momentum.
(Read More: NY Fed Manufacturing Growth Slows Sharply in April)
"If there's any shift in sentiment in the market place, it's risk aversion, and the yen and dollar benefit in more of a risk-averse climate," said Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in New York.