LONDON: The dollar held on to three-weeks highs against major currencies on Monday as US and euro zone bond yields steadied, after a fixed-income selloff in February that lifted demand for safe-haven currencies.
The Australian dollar and other riskier currencies rebounded against the US dollar during trading hours in Asia, but the greenback gradually strengthened against peers.
At 1149 GMT, the dollar index was up 0.35% to 91.07 after posting its biggest gains since June on Friday.
The euro fell 0.23% to $1.2042, after dropping 0.9% at the end of last week, the most since April.
A survey showing upbeat euro zone factory activity in February and soaring demand failed to prop up the bloc’s currency.
“It’s quite possible that the market is readjusting the bullish view it had on the euro at the beginning of the year”, said Jane Foley, a foreign exchange strategist at Rabobank.
She noted concerns about Europe’s vaccine campaigns and its growth potential while investors seeking to play the reflation trade focused on the recovering US economy and the new round of stimulus of President Joe Biden.
Traders were also waiting for a speech later this afternoon by President Christine Lagarde, who is under pressure to act against rising yields in the euro zone.
“There is little doubt in my mind that central banks will eventually lean quite hard against a sustained rise in yields. They simply can’t afford to see it happen with debt so high”, Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid told his clients in a morning note.
Yields on the benchmark 10-year German government bond retreated to -0.30% from a one-year high of -0.20% last week.
Ten-year US bonds traded at 1.4376%, off Thursday’s one-year high of 1.614%.
“The bond market and risk assets are showing signs of stabilisation after the big sell-off last week”, ING analysts commented, expecting that “the dollar’s corrective rally should pause for breath”.
Early today, the risk-friendly Australian dollar jumped 0.3% to $0.7728, following a 2.1% plunge on Friday.
The Reserve Bank of Australia will hold its monthly policy meeting on Tuesday, and markets expect it to reinforce its forward guidance for three more years of near-zero rates.
The British pound drew additional support from bets on a faster vaccine-led economic recovery. Sterling rose 0.17% to $1.3945.
Against the yen, the dollar hit a six-month high of 106.75.
In cryptocurrency markets, bitcoin rose 5.9% to $47,910 but was still off a record high of $58,354.14 hit on Feb. 21.