NZ air force detachment on Guam, island targeted by North Korea

British stocks down 0.59 pct Wednesday

European and US stock exchanges fell Wednesday as investors reacted to rising tensions between the United States and North Korea. The greenback was down 1.1 against the franc, its worst drop in more than six weeks.

The euro was down 0.1 percent at $1.175 while the dollar fell 0.6 percent to 109.68 yen.

The escalation in rhetoric jarred financial markets as investors sheltered their cash in assets that tend to perform in times of stress.

"The won has fallen slightly against the dollar since July due to geopolitical risks" stemming from North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, the statement said.

North Korea raised the tension level in the region on August 9 when the Kim Jong-Un regime said it is considering a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

"It's just a classic risk-off day", said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in NY.

The dollar fell sharply against the Swiss franc on Wednesday, with haven assets including Switzerland's currency bid higher following a verbal clash between North Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Asian shares and US stock futures slipped while US Treasuries, gold and the safe-haven yen rose in early Asian trading on Wednesday after tensions on the Korean peninsula escalated.

Most Asian currencies stumbled, with the Korean won on pace for its biggest fall in almost eight weeks.

"The Japanese reactionaries are making no scruple of joining in the USA which dropped A-bombs over Japan and did a great deal of harm to it in the past, and working hard to realize their long-ambition for turning it into a military giant and for overseas militarist aggression by the method of taking advantage of the US hostile policy toward the DPRK [North Korea] and strategy to dominate Asia", wrote the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Traders said hedge funds had cut leveraged bets against the franc, prompted in part by worries about increased US-North Korea tension.

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