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Dollar down, markets muted in Asia after Obama win

The US dollar fell against the euro and yen as dealers bet that under Obama the Federal Reserve would continue the loose monetary policy that has seen it flood markets with billions of dollars

AFP , Wednesday 7 Nov 2012
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The dollar slipped in Asian trade Wednesday while share markets were muted after President Barack Obama won a second term in a closely-fought US presidential election.

The US unit fell against the euro and yen in afternoon trade, as dealers bet that under Obama the Federal Reserve would continue the loose monetary policy that has seen it flood markets with billions of dollars.

The European single currency bought $1.2860 in Tokyo, well up from $1.2788 earlier Wednesday and $1.2814 in New York late Tuesday. The greenback was at 80.20 yen compared with 80.34 yen in New York.

The euro bought 103.13 yen, from 102.96 yen in New York.

The dollar was also broadly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies, falling to $1.0466 against the Australian dollar from $1.0432, to 1,084.60 South Korean won from 1,091.20 won and to Sg$1.2209 from Sg$1.2240.

Gold prices rose thanks to the weaker dollar, climbing to $1,722.40 by 0835 GMT compared with $1,679.75 late Monday.

A clear victory had been the overriding hope, allowing the government to work to avert the "fiscal cliff" which will dominate discussions in Congress between now and Christmas.

If Congress fails to agree how to cut spending over the medium term, there will be automatic deep spending cuts that could tip the United States back into recession, in a major blow for the slowing global economy.

On equity markets Sydney gained 0.71 per cent, or 31.7 points, to end at 4,516.5. Tokyo was flat, nudging down 2.26 points to 8,972.89, while Seoul closed up 0.49 per cent, or 9.38 points, at 1,937.55.

Hong Kong shares ended up 0.71 per cent, or 155.42 points, at 22,099.85 and Shanghai was flat, edging down 0.27 points to 2,105.73.

"Investors have been factoring in his win and adjusting their positions likewise," said Kengo Suzuki, forex strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

"The issue now is the uncertainty surrounding the US fiscal cliff, and how a divided Congress will deal with the issue," he added.

SHK Financial strategist Daniel So told Dow Jones Newswires: "An Obama victory ensures the continuity of US monetary policy, which is likely to be kept loose."

He added that a Romney win would likely have seen him "launch policies to incentivise fund flow back to the US, so in terms of liquidity inflow an Obama win also favours the Asian markets".

Wall Street ended with impressive gains ahead of the election results. The Dow rose 1.02 per cent, the S&P 500 climbed 0.79 per cent and the Nasdaq added 0.41 per cent.

However, regional traders were still concerned about Europe's debt woes after data Tuesday showed a bigger-than-expected slump in factory orders in Germany, the eurozone's biggest economy.

Berlin said industrial orders declined 3.3 per cent in September from August after falling 0.8 per cent the previous month.

That is much steeper than expected. Analysts polled by Dow Jones had been pencilling in a fall of 0.5 per cent.

The drop was largely due to a decline in export orders, particularly from the eurozone where they plummeted 9.6 per cent.

And Greek lawmakers are due to vote later in the day on a new set of austerity measures -- including tax hikes and pension cuts -- that are needed to unlock the latest batch of international aid and stave off bankruptcy.

Eyes are also on the upcoming 18th congress of the Chinese Communist Party that begins on Thursday and which will see the country's leaders for the next 10 years anointed.

Oil prices were lower. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, fell 21 cents to $88.50 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for December shed seven cents to $111.00.

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