By Richard Leong
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The yen and Swiss franc rose on Friday as oil prices slid and bank shares led global equity markets lower, stoking a fresh wave of bids for low-risk assets.
Jitters about the June 23 referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union intensified the scramble for safe-haven investments, analysts said.
A poll by ORB for The Independent paper published on Friday showed the “Leave” camp had a 10-point lead over “Remain.”
“The closer we get to the ‘Brexit’ vote, the more people will put on cautious positions,” said Alan Ruskin, global head of FX strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York.
The Swiss franc reached an eight-week peak against the euro at 1.0845 francs per euro
The Swissie was flat against the dollar
Safe-haven demand also supported the yen. It was up 0.4 percent at 106.65 yen against the dollar
The Japanese currency was 0.9 percent higher versus the euro
Anxiety about the Brexit knocked sterling to a seven-week low against the dollar at $1.4180
The dollar index <.DXY> was last up 0.6 percent at 94.558 for a weekly gain on 0.5 percent.
Traders also ditched emerging-market currencies ahead of the weekend with the South African rand
Falling global bond yields were seen as negative for bank profits, pressuring their shares in stock markets worldwide.
The MSCI world equity index <.MIWD00000PUS>, which tracks shares in 45 nations, was down 1.6 percent.
Meanwhile, U.S. and Japanese policymakers are expected to produce no surprises at a meetings next week, analysts said.
Following a poor May jobs report, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to leave policy rates unchanged, while a Reuters poll showed the Bank of Japan is set to skip the chance to inject more stimulus to help its economy.
“That will add to the malaise to the yen. There has been some loss of faith in the BOJ,” said David Page, senior economist of multi asset client solutions at AXA Investment Managers in London.
(Additional reporting by Jemima Kelly in London; Lisa Twaronite in Tokyo; Ian Chua in Sydney; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Steve Orlofsky)