Yen rallies on global stock market rout

The U.S. dollar has regained some strength in recent weeks.
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The U.S. dollar has regained some strength in recent weeks.

The Japanese yen rose broadly on Monday, as financial market turbulence sent traders scrambling for the traditional low-risk currency after disappointing Chinese factory data sparked a selloff on global stock markets.

The yen rose to an 11-week high against the dollar and climbed to a level not seen since April versus the euro.

"It's your classic risk-off move and you have your safe-haven play in the yen," said Alberto Boquin, FX macro strategist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in New York.

A 7 percent slide in Shanghai shares suggested the global economy may struggle this year to handle many more rises in U.S. interest rates, which would be likely to drive any further dollar rally.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates in December, the first rate hike in nearly a decade.

"Global weakness could throw a wrench against another U.S. rate hike," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst with Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.

China's yuan currency hit its lowest in more than four years in both onshore and offshore trade. .

Nervousness about the ongoing contraction among Chinese manufacturers despite Beijing's surprise devaluation in August sent traders to embrace the yen.

The yen rose 0.78 percent against the dollar to 119.32 yen. During the session, the yen hit as high as 118.77, which was an 11-week high. Against the euro, the yen was last up 1.1 percent at 129.17 yen per euro.

It reached a session high as 128.68 yen per euro.

Renewed worries about China, the world's second largest economy, also hurt the Australian dollar and other currencies whose economies export heavily to China.

The Aussie and New Zealand dollar were down more than 1 percent against the U.S. dollar, while the Canadian dollar shed 0.9 percent to stand at C$1.3956 per dollar.

On the other hand, the greenback erased earlier losses against the euro after data showed German inflation unexpectedly slowed in December, bringing the annual rate in 2015 to a record low.

The euro was down 0.4 percent at $1.0827, retreating from a session high of $1.0946.

"The last thing Europe needs is low inflation. It reinforces the notion of further easing policy at the European Central Bank," Western Union's Manimbo said.

Among other European currencies, the Swedish crown fell against the euro and dollar after the country's central bank gave its governor the power to intervene immediately to weaken the crown in a bid to stimulate its economy.

It was down 0.8 percent at 8.5134 crown per dollar and 0.2 percent lower at 9.2155 crown per euro.