By Ritvik Carvalho
LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar rose on Wednesday, clawing back some of its losses sustained overnight, as U.S. yields found a floor following their drop from one-year highs.
Riskier currencies including the Australian and New Zealand dollars retreated after logging big gains on Tuesday. Bitcoin turned lower after earlier topping $55,000 for the first time since Feb. 22.
The euro was 0.05% lower at $1.18940 after bouncing off a 3-1/2-month low of $1.18355 on Tuesday.
Against the yen, another traditional safe-haven currency, the greenback traded 0.2% higher at 108.68 yen, following its retreat from a nine-month top of 109.235.
Investors will have their eye on U.S. inflation numbers due later today.
Traders are also wary yields could rise further this week as the market will have to digest a $120 billion auction of 3-, 10-, and 30-year Treasuries, especially after last week’s soft auction and a 7-year note sale that saw a spike in yields.
“Particularly the latter (the 10y auction today will be followed by a 30y UST auction tomorrow) is the main risk to market sentiment today should low demand reinstate pressure on the fragile UST market (the non-negligible decline in UST yields was a key factor behind the risk rally yesterday),” said ING strategists in a daily note.
“Equally, a good take-up could reiterate the risk-friendly mood in FX markets observed yesterday. Hence, one should get ready for a day of volatility with the FX market looking for signs of confirmation as to whether the risk rally yesterday was a short-term blip or the tentative start of a trend.”
The dollar index has closely tracked a surge in Treasury yields in recent weeks, both because higher yields increase the currency’s appeal and as the bond rout shook investor confidence, spurring demand for the safest assets.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield stabilised around 1.5490% on Wednesday in European trade after a three-day drop from a one-year high of 1.6250%.
The dollar index strengthened about 0.2% to 92.147 in Asia on Wednesday, after falling back sharply from a 3-1/2-month high of 92.506 overnight. It was last 0.1% higher at 92.027 in European trade.
Bond investors have been selling on bets that a faster-than-expected economic rebound would spark a surge in inflation, with President Joe Biden expected to sign a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package as soon as this week.
Many analysts still expect the dollar to weaken over the course of this year, but the speed of recent gains has forced some to adjust their views.
Westpac, which last week was talking about selling the dollar index into 91, now sees it reaching as high as 94.50 before resuming last year’s downtrend as the rest of the world closes the gap with the U.S. economic recovery.
“Global reflation is alive and well, and Europe will get her vaccination act together at some point too,” Westpac strategists wrote in a note.
“A continuation of the global recovery … should see commodity currencies outperform.”
The Aussie dropped 0.2% to $0.7700 after jumping 1% overnight, as a top central banker rebuffed market chatter about early rate increases, helping pull local yields lower. [AUD/]
New Zealand’s kiwi slipped 0.2% to $0.7156 following a 0.8% increase on Tuesday.
In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin rose as high as $55,855 on Wednesday before dropping back to $54,729. It hit a record high of $58,354.14 on Feb. 21.