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Yen ticks up in Asia awaiting Fed chief speech

TOKYO--The yen ticked up in Asia Monday as investors nervously watched the latest developments in the Ukraine crisis, while looking to a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chief later this week.

In Tokyo afternoon trading, the dollar slipped to 102.32 yen from 102.34 yen in New York Friday.

The euro weakened to 137.05 yen from 137.11 yen, while it also slipped to US$1.3393 from US$1.3397.

Traders moved into the yen — a safe-haven currency during times of turmoil — on the back of rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

On Friday, news that Ukraine had shelled Russian armored vehicles after they entered its territory stoked fears of a direct clash.

The Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers ended “difficult” talks on the Ukraine crisis Sunday with no concrete advances but “some progress,” host Germany said.

Investors were also looking to the Federal Reserve's annual economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this week where Fed Chair Janet Yellen is to deliver a keynote address that was expected to focus on the country's jobs market.

“While geopolitical developments continue to overshadow the market, central bank events will likely take the center stage in the week ahead,” Credit Agricole said.

“Overall, we believe that Ms. Yellen will continue to offer support for the view of 'underutilization of labor resources' and thus do not anticipate any hawkish surprises from her comments,” it added.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It inched up to SG$1.2446 from SG$1.2442 on Friday, and to 11,679.90 Indonesian rupiah from 11,671.00 rupiah.

The dollar slipped to 1,017.59 South Korean won against 1,017.64 won, to 43.65 Philippine pesos against 43.67 pesos and to 31.82 Thai baht against 31.89 baht.

The greenback was unchanged at 60.77 Indian rupees.

The Australian dollar fetched 92.23 U.S. cents against 93.25 cents, while the Chinese yuan eased to 16.61 yen from 16.64 yen.

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