Dollar on back foot versus yen on North Korea jitters

Dollar on back foot versus yen on North Korea jitters

China's earthquake administration said it had detected a magnitude 3.4 earthquake in North Korea that was a "suspected explosion", while an official at South Korea's meteorological agency said the initial view was that it was a natural quake. The USGS estimated the depth of Saturday's quake to be five kilometers (three miles).

"While the data analysis is preliminary, the early indications strongly suggest that the smaller events today (which are in a seismically inactive area) are likely further geologic disturbances created by the September 3 nuclear test explosion", he said. Since Kim came to power after the death of his father Kim Jong Il in 2011, he has ramped up nuclear and missile weapon tests.

It's not clear yet whether this was a natural quake or the result of a nuclear test.

North Korea detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear weapon earlier this month at its underground Punggye-ri site northeast of Pyongyang, causing a quake with a magnitude of around 6.3.

The area isn't where natural earthquakes normally occur.

All of North Korea's previous six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above.

The announcement follows days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un's regime, which has raised worldwide alarm.

Under the terms of the resolution, member countries should cap refined oil-product exports to North Korea at 500,000 barrels from October 1 to December 31, and annual shipments should be limited to no more than 2 million barrels from January 1, 2018, according to a Mofcom statement.

When the tremors were first reported earlier, China said it believed they may have been caused by an explosion. "Similar to "collapse" event 8.5 mins after DPRK6!", he tweeted. "Analysis ongoing", CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said in a Twitter post, referring to the September 3 test.

The dollar weakened against the yen yesterday, with tensions simmering on the Korean peninsula and as the boost from heightened expectations of a United States interest rate hike in December faded. Japan and South Korea, the two closest allies of United States in the region, have claimed threat from the spree of missile tests conducted by the North.

China's Commerce Ministry announced that it would limit exports of refined petroleum products to North Korea.

The new sanctions target the North's trade and shipping networks and will give the Treasury Department new powers to cut banks from the US financial system for transacting with North Korea.

"For too long, North Korea has evaded sanctions and used the worldwide financial system to facilitate funding for its weapons and mass destruction and ballistic missile programs", he said.

The Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said China's cutting of oil exports to North Korea was a key move in the attempts to force the country to the negotiating table.