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    MORNING BELL: Yen rises on worries about Greece, Ukraine

    The yen firmed against the dollar and euro on Monday as investors sought safety in the Japanese currency on worries about the conflict in Ukraine and Greece's future in the Eurozone. The yen rose after two straight days of losses against the dollar, and so far this year has gained 0.7 percent. It took a beating on Friday after a strong U.S. jobs report rekindled optimism about a rate by the Federal Reserve this year. 

    The Canadian dollar was stronger against the greenback on Monday as oil prices rallied for a third straight session and helped give the commodities-linked currency a lift. After retreating against the U.S. dollar on Friday on strong U.S. jobs and wage data, the Loonie was buoyed on Monday by an OPEC forecast that demand for its oil would be greater than expected this year, as well as figures that showed the number of U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell to its lowest level since December, 2011. Canada is a major crude exporting country, and its currency has been especially sensitive to crude prices, which have plunged more than 50 percent since last June.

    Gold edged up from the previous session's three-week low on Monday, as European equities were hurt by soft Chinese trade data and worries about Greece. Gold was also helped as stock indexes worldwide slipped after weaker-than-expected Chinese trade data, and on uncertainty about Greece's position in the Eurozone. The dollar fell, giving back just some of its gains made on Friday, after data showed U.S. jobs growth rose solidly in January and wages rebounded, an indication of economic strength that put a mid-year interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve back on the table The U.S. central bank has held benchmark borrowing costs near zero since December, 2008. An increase in rates should further boost the dollar, in turn denting demand for gold, a non-interest-bearing asset.

     

     


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