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FOREX-Dollar on the front foot as focus shifts to Powell

Stanley White
·3-min read

* Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E * Treasury market regains calm, yields support dollar * Safe-harbour yen and Swiss franc fall against greenback * Powell comments could set the tone for global markets By Stanley White TOKYO, March 4 (Reuters) - The dollar hit a seven-month high against the yen on Thursday as an orderly rise in U.S. Treasury yields lent support ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that may determine the trend for global bond markets and currencies. The dollar also traded near a three-month high against the Swiss franc and held on to gains against most currencies as a renewed sense of calm in the Treasury market supported sentiment. Powell's comments will be closely watched to see if he expresses concern about a recent volatile selloff in Treasuries and if there is any change in his assessment of the economy before the Fed's next meeting ending March 17. The dollar may continue to rise against the yen as long as Treasury yields rise at a measured pace, but the greenback is likely to fall against currencies of major commodities exporters as more signs point to a rebound in the global economy. "The performance of the dollar will vary depending on the currency," said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities. "Dollar/yen looks well bid because of yields and because Japan's economy is underperforming relative to the United States, but as long as commodity prices rise, the dollar will weaken against commodity currencies." The dollar rose to 107.09 yen, the highest since July last year. The U.S. currency bought 0.9195 Swiss franc, close to the highest since November. The British pound eased slightly to $1.3937, The euro traded at $1.2059, nursing a 0.24% loss from the previous session. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield edged up to 1.4894% in Asian trading. A chaotic selloff in Treasuries from the start of the year on concerns that massive government spending to support the global economy may drive up inflation culminated in 10-year yields rising to a one-year high of 1.6140% last week. The move was so rapid that global stock markets fell and the dollar swooned against most currencies, but the greenback has since regained its composure as disorderly selling of Treasuries seems to have run its course, for now at least. The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies stood at 91.026, holding onto a 0.32% gain from Wednesday. The Australian dollar, which is often traded as a proxy for global growth because it is closely tied to commodities, edged lower for a second trading day to $0.7767. The New Zealand dollar, another closely watched commodity currency, also fell slightly. However, traders said the decline in the Aussie and the kiwi is likely only a temporary pullback because both economies are rebounding strongly from the coronavirus pandemic and they will both benefit from an acceleration in global trade. ======================================================== Currency bid prices at 0024 GMT Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid Previous Change Session Euro/Dollar $1.2059 $1.2062 -0.03% -1.31% +1.2065 +1.2044 Dollar/Yen 107.0200 106.9600 +0.05% +3.60% +107.0900 +107.0100 Euro/Yen 129.06 129.08 -0.02% +1.69% +129.1300 +128.9900 Dollar/Swiss 0.9195 0.9200 -0.01% +3.98% +0.9200 +0.9197 Sterling/Dollar 1.3937 1.3950 -0.11% +1.99% +1.3952 +1.3920 Dollar/Canadian 1.2658 1.2656 +0.03% -0.58% +1.2674 +1.2654 Aussie/Dollar 0.7767 0.7775 -0.09% +0.98% +0.7778 +0.7753 NZ 0.7244 0.7246 -0.04% +0.86% +0.7250 +0.7227 Dollar/Dollar All spots Tokyo spots Europe spots Volatilities Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ (Reporting by Stanley White; editing by Richard Pullin)