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FOREX-Dollar gains on higher yields, safe haven bid, risky currencies weaken
Published at 26/02/2021 at 15:23

(New throughout, updates prices, changes byline, dateline; previous LONDON)

* Graphic: World FX rates

By Karen Brettell

NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose against most major currencies on Friday as U.S. government bond yields held near one-year highs, while riskier currencies such as the Aussie dollar weakened.

Yields have surged as an acceleration in the pace of vaccinations globally and optimism over improving global growth bolster bets that inflation will rise. That has also led investors to price in earlier monetary tightening than the Federal Reserve and other central banks have signaled.

The dollar move is "a function of what's happening on the yields side," said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC World Markets. The 10-year yield briefly climbed above the S&P 500 dividend yield on Thursday, he noted, indicating "uncertainty that is writ large."

The dollar index rose 0.18% to 90.479, after earlier reaching 90.773, its highest level in a week.

It gained against the yen , touching 106.51 for the first time since September.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield surged above 1.6% on Thursday for the first time in a year after a weak seven-year note auction. It was last at 1.47%.

U.S. yield increases have accelerated this month as Fed officials refrain from expressing concern about the yield gains.

“The Fed has not really hinted that that’s making them uncomfortable, so the bond market’s going to push that,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York. “That’s really dictating this move in the dollar… you're seeing risk off across the board.”

Riskier currencies retreated. The Aussie fell 1.23% to $0.7772, after topping $0.80 on Thursday for the first time since February of 2018.

Marshall Gittler, head of research at BDSwiss, said the Australian dollar was underperforming despite the market signaling higher growth, likely because the country's central bank's yield curve control policy would restrain its bond yields from moving much higher. That, in turn, could limit the attractiveness of the currency.

The greenback is likely to continue to benefit from safe- haven flows if risk appetite continues to worsen, and emerging market currencies may be among the biggest losers.

“There’s a big, big concern that this reflation risk is going to get out of hand and that’s going to really pummel the emerging market currencies, and I think you’re going to see that investors are going to need to reassess their dollar positions,” said Moya.

Data on Friday showed U.S. consumer spending increased by the most in seven months in January, while price pressures were muted.

The euro dipped 0.32% to $1.2135 after touching a seven-week high of $1.2244 on Thursday.

Bitcoin was last up 0.24% at $47,155. Ethereum

gained 2.8% to $1,522.

========================================================

Currency bid prices at 9:55AM (1455 GMT)

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid

Previous Change

Session

Dollar index 90.4790 90.3270 +0.18% 0.553% +90.7730 +90.1250

Euro/Dollar $1.2135 $1.2175 -0.32% -0.67% +$1.2185 +$1.2093

Dollar/Yen 106.4150 106.2100 +0.20% +3.03% +106.5150 +105.9000

Euro/Yen 129.15 129.35 -0.15% +1.76% +129.5300 +128.6600

Dollar/Swiss 0.9049 0.9051 -0.02% +2.28% +0.9068 +0.9027

Sterling/Dollar $1.3955 $1.4009 -0.37% +2.16% +$1.4025 +$1.3890

Dollar/Canadian 1.2647 1.2605 +0.32% -0.70% +1.2684 +1.2588

Aussie/Dollar $0.7772 $0.7870 -1.23% +1.05% +$0.7883 +$0.7731

Euro/Swiss 1.0981 1.1016 -0.32% +1.61% +1.1026 +1.0957

Euro/Sterling 0.8694 0.8688 +0.07% -2.72% +0.8730 +0.8673

NZ $0.7293 $0.7370 -1.02% +1.59% +$0.7381 +$0.7255

Dollar/Dollar

Dollar/Norway 8.5495 8.5010 +0.60% -0.41% +8.6255 +8.5025

Euro/Norway 10.3735 10.3450 +0.28% -0.89% +10.4380 +10.3170

Dollar/Sweden 8.3514 8.2950 +0.42% +1.88% +8.3844 +8.2815

Euro/Sweden 10.1348 10.0922 +0.42% +0.58% +10.1540 +10.0878

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ World FX rates

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(Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho in London; Editing by Dan Grebler)

((karen.brettell@thomsonreuters.com))