NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar index lifted off a seven-week low on Thursday after yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries jumped as high as 1.6% following weaker-than-expected bids in a U.S. government debt auction.
The move was the latest example of currency markets taking their cue from bonds, which have been moving on the changing outlook for economic growth and inflation following unprecedented government stimulus and monetary easing along with increasing COVID-19 vaccinations.
The dollar was up 0.27% against a basket of currencies in the early New York afternoon after dipping as much as 0.26% to 89.677, its lowest since Jan. 8.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was 1.55%, still up 16 basis points on the day. The spike to 1.6% came in the early afternoon when an auction of $62 billion of 7-year notes was met with weak demand.
The rise in bond yields, after adjusting for inflation, has accelerated in recent days, indicating a growing belief that central banks may begin to pare back ultra-loose policies, even as officials maintain a dovish rhetoric.
“It has been a global move,” said Vassili Serebriakov, an FX strategist at UBS in New York. “Those higher bond yields are a symptom of expectations of a strong economic rebound after the pandemic.”
Data on Thursday showed that fewer Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week amid falling COVID-19 infections.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated on Wednesday that the U.S. central bank would not tighten its policy until the economy improves.
Commodity-linked currencies, including the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars, all hit three-year highs earlier in the day as their bond yields surged.
“The U.S. has actually lagged a lot of these other countries in terms of the yield moves,” said Erik Nelson, a macro strategist at Wells Fargo in New York, noting that New Zealand’s 10-year government bond yield had gained 18 basis points on Thursday.
The Aussie reached $0.8007 against the greenback and was last down 1% at $0.7882. New Zealand’s kiwi hit $0.7463 and then fell, last off 1.29% for the day.
Weighing on the Aussie were lower oil and U.S. stock prices and a narrowing of Australian and U.S. bond yields, according to strategists at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
The Canadian dollar got as far as 1.2468 per U.S. dollar, but was last at $1.2610.
The euro rose to a three-week high, gaining 0.5% before backing off. It was last off 0.05% at $1.2164.
The safe-haven Japanese yen, which tends to underperform when global growth improves, weakened as far as 106.29 yen per dollar.
“Some of the currencies that typically don’t do well in a global rebound are lagging,” Serebriakov said. Changes in the dollar have been different against different currencies recently. “It’s not just across the board the way it was last year when everything was driven by U.S. real yields falling and selling dollars across the board,” Serebriakov added.
Currency bid prices at 3:41PM (2041 GMT)
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Dollar index 90.2800 90.0450 +0.27% 0.332% +90.2890 +89.6770
Euro/Dollar $1.2164 $1.2170 -0.05% +0.00% +$1.2244 +$1.2140
Dollar/Yen 106.2850 105.8600 +0.43% +0.00% +106.3950 +105.8800
Euro/Yen 129.29 128.79 +0.39% +0.00% +129.9700 +128.7900
Dollar/Swiss 0.9062 0.9065 -0.03% +0.00% +0.9081 +0.9029
Sterling/Dollar $1.4007 $1.4143 -0.95% +0.00% +$1.4182 +$1.4001
Dollar/Canadian 1.2610 1.2515 +0.78% +0.00% +1.2612 +1.2468
Aussie/Dollar $0.7862 $0.7968 -1.29% +0.00% +$0.8007 +$0.7859
Euro/Swiss 1.1023 1.1029 -0.05% +0.00% +1.1097 +1.1015
Euro/Sterling 0.8683 0.8604 +0.92% +0.00% +0.8697 +0.8597
NZ $0.7360 $0.7443 -1.07% +0.00% +$0.7464 +$0.7360
Dollar/Norway 8.4950 8.3720 +1.50% +0.00% +8.5055 +8.3200
Euro/Norway 10.3410 10.1916 +1.47% +0.00% +10.3520 +10.1759
Dollar/Sweden 8.2989 8.2747 +0.31% +0.00% +8.3001 +8.2067
Euro/Sweden 10.0955 10.0642 +0.31% +0.00% +10.0968 +10.0410
(Reporting by David Henry and Karen Brettell in New York; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Will Dunham)