The safe-haven yen was the currency darling on Wednesday as investors sought its refuge amid political instability in Egypt and Portugal, although encouraging U.S. labor market signs had it paring gains against the dollar.
Japan's currency and the Swiss franc, which is also favored during times of turmoil, were supported by worries about unrest in Egypt. Fears it could destabilize the Middle East and lead to supply disruption pushed oil to a 14-month peak.
In Europe, Portugal's president summoned main political parties for crisis talks over the government's future with markets reeling on fears that a snap election could interfere with Lisbon's exit from an international bailout.
"International developments are having an effect in the currency market and that's why the yen is higher," said Nick Bennenbroek, head of currency strategy at Wells Fargo Securities in New York.
"Obviously, the unresolved situation in Egypt and the government resignations in Portugal are an issue. We're not only seeing some of the G-10 currencies weaken, but also emerging market currencies."