The Australian and New Zealand dollars fell this week to the lowest levels against the yen in at least six years as investors sold higher-yielding assets.
The currencies headed for their third weekly drop this month as Asian stocks slid on signs the world economy is on the brink of a recession. Investors bought back yen they borrowed in so-called carry trades used to purchase assets offering higher returns in Australia and New Zealand. The two nations' dollars also fell versus the U.S. currency as the price of commodities the countries export plunged on concern demand will falter.
``What you have is the global economy going down, commodity prices coming off and the old theme of global de-leveraging,'' said Thomas Harr, a senior currency strategist at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore. ``All of these issues are negative for the Aussie and the kiwi and positive for the yen.''
Australia's dollar dropped 13.7 percent this week to 60.42 yen as of 6:03 p.m. in Sydney from 70 yen on Oct. 17 in New York. It reached 60.17 today, the lowest since October 2001.
New Zealand's currency declined 11.8 percent for the week to 54.89 yen and touched 54.56, the weakest since September 2002.
The Australian dollar fell 7.3 percent to 63.84 U.S. cents from 68.88 cents in New York on Oct. 17. New Zealand's dollar dropped to 57.52 cents, losing 5.7 percent for the week. It touched 57.41, the lowest since September 2003