Dollar holds advantage on economic optimism, euro looks vulnerable

The dollar traded near multi-month highs against most major currencies on Friday, supported by a wave of optimism due to improving U.S. economic data, the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, and rising Treasury yields.

The euro was in focus ahead of data on German business sentiment due later in the day, but the outlook for the common European currency has soured due to renewed coronavirus lockdowns and the slow pace of vaccinations across the European Union.

The greenback has more room to rise against the euro, but its gains against other currencies in the past few weeks have been so rapid that some analysts are warning against chasing the dollar higher from current levels.

“The euro has broken through the 200-day moving average, and that is a clear sign that it will continue to go lower,” said Minori Uchida, head of global markets research at MUFG Bank in Tokyo.

“The yen is getting strong on some of the crosses, which will cap dollar/yen. Yields have supported the dollar, but this move could start to run out of steam.”

Against the euro, the dollar was quoted at $1.1776, close to its strongest since November last year.

The dollar bought 109.21 yen, which is near its highest since June.

The greenback traded at 0.9396 Swiss franc, holding onto a 0.5% gain from the previous session.

One notable exception to the dollar’s gains was the British pound <GBP=D3>, which edged up to $1.3747 after rising 0.4% on Thursday. Data due later on Friday that is forecast to show a rebound in British retail sales could give the pound a further boost.

U.S. jobless claims fell to a one-year low last week and President Joe Biden said he will double his vaccination rollout plan after reaching his previous goal of 100 million shots 42 days ahead of schedule, both of which support optimism in the dollar.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies stood at 92.788, close to a four-month high.

Traders will look to data on U.S. personal consumption due later on Friday for further hints about the strength of the U.S. economy.

During European trading Germany’s Ifo survey is expected to show an improvement in business morale. But this is unlikely to halt the euro’s slide, because worries about the European Union’s slow vaccination rollout and bickering with former member Britain over vaccine exports have become a dominant theme, traders said.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars rebounded from sharp losses earlier in the week.

The two currencies are likely to remain supported because their relative success in limiting the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic, analysts said.

U.S. dollar wallows near one-week low as bond yields retreat

The dollar index wallowed just north of the 91.364 level touched overnight for the first time since Feb. 4. It has dropped around 0.6% this week, after retreating from a more than three-month high of 92.506 reached Tuesday.

The gauge remains 1.6% higher this year as it tracked benchmark 10-year Treasury yields from below 1% to as high as 1.625% at the end of last week, before their retreat to around 1.5% currently.

A benign consumer price index reading this week helped allay fears that increased fiscal stimulus and sustained ultra-easy monetary policy could lead the U.S. recovery to overheat.

Weekly employment data overnight, meanwhile, added to positive signals from the jobs market, as President Joe Biden signed his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill into law.

“Risk sentiment is back in the ascendancy,” Ray Attrill, head of forex strategy at National Australia Bank, wrote in a client note.

“A 1.5% rather than 1% risk-free rate is evidently no longer a problem for risk assets,” although for the dollar, “it still looks a bit premature to call a resumption of the 2020 downtrend with any degree of conviction.”

The Aussie traded at $0.77865, on the cusp of the one-week high of $0.7793 reached Thursday. New Zealand’s kiwi changed hands at $0.7223, near the one-week high of $0.7240 from overnight.

The euro also traded close to a one-week high of $1.1990.

On Thursday, the European Central Bank said it was ready to accelerate money-printing to keep eurozone yields down.

The dollar consolidated at around 108.60 yen, another safe-haven currency, after pulling back from a nine-month high of 109.235 reached on Tuesday.

Bitcoin last traded at $57,185.71, up more than 12% for the week, after topping $58,000 on Thursday for the first time since it set a record high at $58,354.14 on Feb. 21.

U.S. dollar at one-week lows after benign inflation data

The dollar languished near one-week lows on Thursday after benign data on U.S. consumer prices and a decline in Treasury yields led some investors to trim bets on a rapid acceleration in inflation.

The euro was in focus ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later in the day where policymakers are expected to send a message that they will prevent bond yields from rising further and harming the bloc’s economic outlook.

The dollar index against six major currencies was flat at 91.79 after hitting a one-week low of 91.75 earlier in Asia as data showed U.S. core consumer price growth slowed slightly in February.

Against the euro, the dollar was quoted at $1.1932 per dollar, nursing a 0.2% loss from the previous session, while versus the safe-harbor Swiss franc, the greenback bought 0.9299 franc.

“The CPI was a useful reminder to market participants that U.S. inflation is still quite soft,” said Joe Capurso, currency analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

“It’s going to take a lot to get it up to the Federal Reserve’s target. Mainly, financial markets got too bullish too quickly about the Fed starting a rate hike cycle.”

The dollar and U.S. Treasury yields have been rising steadily due to expectations that the Fed’s loose monetary policy and fiscal stimulus will stoke inflation. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury was at 1.528% on Thursday after hitting a one-year high of 1.626% last week.

Focus later in the day will be on an auction of 30-year U.S. Treasuries after an auction of 10-year notes on Wednesday drew sufficient demand, easing concerns about investors’ ability to absorb an increase in debt needed to finance the response to the pandemic.

Overall, analysts said sentiment for the dollar remained fairly positive as the U.S. economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic and as President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill won final approval in Congress.

The British pound bought $1.3935 after rising 0.3% on Wednesday.

The yen was the only major currency to cede ground to the dollar, falling about 0.2% to 108.55 yen.

Investors have been testing the ECB’s resolve to rein in rising bond yields. So far, the euro zone’s central bank has refrained from large-scale market intervention, and policymakers are divided on whether one is warranted ahead of their meeting on Thursday.

Policymakers have also expressed concern about strength in the euro, although a recent weakening of the currency has lowered expectations about major policy changes.

“With euro strength no longer a pressing issue and higher bond yields in focus instead, the ECB meeting should not be a risk event for the euro,” ING analysts said in a note.

Elsewhere, the Australian and New Zealand dollars rose for the third straight session against the greenback as sentiment toward the antipodean currencies remains strong due rising commodity prices and expectations for an acceleration in global trade.

Dollar ascendant as Powell stays dovish course; risk currencies slide

The dollar held firmly near three-month highs on Friday after surging overnight as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stuck with dovish rhetoric despite a recent spike in bond market volatility.

The U.S. currency soared the most in a month after Powell said the violent sell-off in Treasuries last week was “notable and caught my attention” but was not “disorderly” or likely to push long-term rates so high the Fed might have to intervene more forcefully.

Instead, he reiterated a commitment to maintain ultra-easy monetary policy until the economy is “very far along the road to recovery.”

Powell’s remarks reignited selling in Treasuries, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumping back above 1.5% and rising as high as 1.5830% in Asia. Last week, it had soared to a three-month top of 1.614%.

Riskier currencies including the Australian and New Zealand dollars slid along with stocks as investor sentiment again turned sour.

“Quite a night for market volatility, with the bond market the centre of attention,” Ray Attrill, head of forex strategy at National Australia Bank in Sydney, wrote in a client note.

“The market was seemingly looking for Powell to push back harder on the recent increase in yields.”

The dollar index was little changed at 91.660 early in the Asian session after gaining 0.7% overnight.

The euro slipped 0.1% to $1.19635, a one-month low, following a 0.7% slump overnight.

The dollar eased slightly to 107.835 yen, but remained near the multi-month high at the cusp of 108 touched during Thursday’s 0.9% surge.

The safe-haven dollar has been supported both by the higher Treasury yields themselves, and the upswing in risk aversion the bond rout has fomented.

Impending U.S. fiscal stimulus is adding fuel to expectations of higher inflation, as the accelerating rollout of COVID vaccines heightens optimism for an economic recovery.

While many analysts expect commodity-linked currencies to climb as economies reopen after the pandemic, they have been hurt by the souring mood.

The Aussie weakened 0.3% to $0.7705, extending Thursday’s 0.7% drop. The kiwi fell 0.2%, adding to its 0.8% slide overnight.

Dollar holds advantage over low-yielders, Australian dollar looks to RBA

The dollar stood firm against its low-yielding peers on Tuesday on bets of a faster economic recovery and greater tolerance of higher U.S. bond yields, while the Australian dollar looked to guidance from the country’s central bank.

The dollar index last stood at 91.014, having hit a three-week high of 91.139 overnight, with its February peak of 91.600 seen as a possible next target.

The U.S. currency rose to 106.89 yen on Monday, its highest since late August, and last stood at 106.84 yen while the euro dipped to $1.2049, near its lowest level in almost two weeks.


The common currency was under pressure as top officials from the European Central Bank sounded alarm over rises in bond yields.

President Christine Lagarde said on Monday the ECB will prevent a premature increase in borrowing costs for firms and households.

Policymaker Francois Villeroy de Galhau was even more explicit, saying some of the recent rises in bond yields were unwarranted and that the ECB must push back using the flexibility embedded in its bond purchase program.

Traders were quick to sense the marked difference in tone between the ECB and the Federal Reserve.

Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin said on Monday the uptick in long-term bond yields so far seems to suggest an adjustment to stronger growth and inflation outlook.

Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said last week that bond yields remain comparatively low, while Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has also shown no undue concerns about rising bond yields.

“Central banks continue to take diverging views on the signals sent by the recent rise in yields. The U.S. Fed is taking it as a positive signal,” Tapas Strickland, director of economics and markets at National Australian Bank in Sydney, said in a note.

The U.S. economic recovery is also seen on a firmer ground, already bolstered by prospects of a $1.9 trillion relief package from the Biden Administration and successful rollouts of COVID-19 vaccinations.

A survey by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released on Monday showed U.S. manufacturing activity increased to a three-year high in February amid a surge in new orders.

As a result, the gap between U.S. and European bond yields has been widening in a boost to the dollar; the 10-year yield differentials between U.S. Treasuries and German Bunds reached 1.76% on Monday, the highest in a year.

The safe-haven Swiss franc softened to a near four-month high of 0.9160 franc per dollar overnight and last stood at 0.9146.

Against the euro, the franc changed hands at 1.1023 to the euro, not far from a 1-1/2-year low of 1.1098 touched last week.

The Australian dollar traded at $0.7774, having risen 0.75% on Monday on rising risk appetite, with focus now squarely on the looming policy meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The RBA’s monthly policy meeting on Tuesday is widely expected to reinforce its forward guidance for three more years of near-zero rates.

It has stepped up bond buying following the global bond market rout, and any further warning against rising yields could cap its latest rebound, analysts said.

“The market has been in a euphoria for some time and everybody says the dollar will weaken on rising risk appetite. But oil prices dipped yesterday and gold also slipped. If commodity markets are waking up to the reality, then we could see some weakness in commodity-linked currencies,” said Makoto Noji, chief FX strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

Elsewhere, bitcoin also jumped back in tandem with gains in risk assets, trading at $49,129 and pulling away from Sunday’s three-week low of $43,021.

Dollar gains on higher yields, risky currencies weaken

The U.S. dollar gained 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 0.59% to 90.847, its highest level in a week.

It gained against the yen, touching 106.69 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 1.45%.

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.”

Riskier currencies retreated. The Aussie fell 1.99% to $0.7713, 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.

U.S. jobs data for February released next Friday is the next major economic focus.

Investors are also waiting on details of the U.S. fiscal stimulus bill, which is expected to be passed in the coming weeks.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Friday was poised to push through President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package, although it looked unlikely to be able to use the bill to raise the minimum wage nationwide.

The euro dipped 0.79% to $1.2078 after touching a seven-week high of $1.2244 on Thursday.

Bitcoin fell 0.32% to $46,946. Ethereum dropped 0.7% to $1,468.