Yen began the week with a bang higher, following a meeting of policy makers from the biggest 20 economies in the world, which investors hoped would produce some kind of a blueprint to combat economic slowdown, but instead, the Group issued some statements without announcing any coordinated measures, raising the worries and contributing to a slip in Asian shares.
Although China's central bank governor tried to reassure the markets about the bank's readiness to expand stimulus measures to boost the economy, but his German counterpart countered that by dismissing further easing policies, pointing instead to needed structural reforms in fiscal and monetary policies to reboot the global market, instead of pumping unlimited amount of liquidity into the markets.
Yen surged nearly one percent against the dollar to trade at 112.97, while gaining ground on the struggling British pound, profiting 0.90% to hover around 156.75. The euro was just as hammered by the safe haven currency, tumbling more than 0.80% to trade at 123.58.
Japan's Nikkei index slipped a quarter of a percentage point as the the stronger yen makes it harder and less competitive for Japanese exporters abroad, while China's Shanghai index was the biggest decliner, plunging nearly five percent on renewed worries over the flagging economy, the world's second largest. Australian shares were largely flat on the day.
Wall Street closed Friday was mixed result, after a spate of positive data showed the highest jump in underlying inflation in four years, while the GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 was revised higher to one percent from 0.7%, which is good for the economy but could mean the Fed would stick to its plans of more rate hikes this year.
Dow Jones Industrial Average lost a little above fifty points, or 0.34% to close at 16,639, while tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite gained eight points, or 0.18% to end at 4,590. Finally, S&P 500 gave up nearly four points, or 0.19% to wrap it up at 1,984.
Investors wait for an array of data today, with German retail sales expected to have grown 0.3% m/m in January, better than December's 0.2% contraction, which would be good for Germany, the biggest economy in Europe, and the whole of the Eurozone.
Over the Atlantic to the United States, pending homes sales are forecast to have jumped 0.6% m/m in January, comfortably surpassing December's 0.1% rise, and would reinforce the strength of the housing sector in the world's biggest economy, which could nudge the Fed into raising interest rates.