Dollar edges away from 13-year peak, Asian stocks slip
TOKYO, Nov 17 (Reuters) – The dollar edged away from a 13-year peak on Thursday, following an easing of the week-long surge in Treasury yields that was fuelled by hopes for the Trump administration’s economic policies, and Asian stocks slipped on Wall Street’s overnight dip.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of major currencies, stood at 100.410 after climbing to 100.570 overnight, its highest since April 2003.
The currency has been on a tear since Donald Trump was elected president last week, stoking expectations of big fiscal spending and sending U.S. Treasury debt yields soaring on the prospect of higher interest rates.
But the rout in U.S. bond prices began to slow, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield pulling back to around 2.2 percent after touching an 11-month high above 2.3 percent earlier in the week.
"The Trump-related move in fixed income has been very strong while information flow about the path of economic policy has not been. It’s perhaps not surprising then that the rates market took a breather," wrote Sharon Zollner, senior economist at ANZ.
"The price action in fixed income suggests that the market has moved sufficiently for the time being, which raises the possibility that the dollar’s rise may be due for a period of consolidation."
The German 10-year bund yield rose to a 10-month high near 0.400 percent on Monday but has since pulled back to 0.300 percent, while British gilts have also edged away from the five-month highs near 1.500 percent seen earlier in the week.
Japan’s benchmark yield, meanwhile, rose to a nine-month high of 0.035 percent on Wednesday, and the Bank of Japan’s resolve to keep the yield around zero percent could be tested should the rise continue. The BOJ in September announced an yield curve control scheme to keep the benchmark yield pinned around zero.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 percent, having lost more than 1 percent so far this week as the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates under a Trump presidency has not been kind to emerging markets.
Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.4 percent and Australian stocks shed 0.3 percent.
In currencies, the dollar dipped 0.1 percent to 108.930 yen following a surge to a five-month high of 109.760 overnight. The euro added 0.1 percent to $1.0702 after seeing an 11-month low of $1.0666.
Crude oil prices eased as the market gave more weight to a bigger-than-expected U.S. crude inventory build than Russia’s comments about a possible meeting with Saudi Arabia that renewed hopes for a production freeze deal.
U.S. crude was down 0.25 percent at $45.45 a barrel.
Gold nudged up slightly as the dollar consolidated. Spot gold inched up 0.1 percent to $1,226.31 an ounce, putting some distance between the five-month low of $1,211.08 seen on Monday.
Gold had still lost roughly $100 an ounce from last Wednesday’s post-U.S. election high on the back of the sharp rise in bond yields and burgeoning appetite for risk.