The yen was headed for its worst week in two-and-a-half years on Friday, as worries about the coronavirus’ spread in South Korea, Japan and Beijing drove funds from Asia to the towering U.S. dollar.
Two days of heavy selling, following weak domestic data and growing fears about the virus’ economic fallout, has the yen at its lowest since last April and investors questioning its worth as a safe haven. It has lost 2% on the dollar since Wednesday.
The virus has killed more than 2,200 people in mainland China and efforts to contain it have largely paralyzed the world’s second biggest economy. On Friday South Korean authorities confirmed 52 new coronavirus infections, Yonhap reported, bringing its total to 156 and raising further alarm about the epidemic.
Two infected passengers from a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo have died, and two passengers evacuated from the liner to Australia have now tested positive.
New cases in South Korea and in Japan, have obviously given some people a little bit of cold feet regarding Japan and the yen as a safe haven.