Dollar on high as US yields rise, Asia shares divided

SYDNEY, Nov 14 (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar touched a nine-month peak in Asia on Monday as the risk of faster inflation at home and greater bond issuance kept Treasury yields elevated, a painful mix for assets in many emerging market countries.

The dollar neared a four-month top on the yen at 106.90 , while the euro touched its lowest since January around $1.0810. It was also at a nine-month high against a basket of currencies.

The dollar has been on a tear since the victory of Republican Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8 triggered a massive sell off in Treasuries.

Futures for the 10-year note <0#TY:> were at their lowest in 10 months on Monday while the cash yield was at 2.18 percent.

Just two days of selling wiped out more than $1 trillion across global bond markets, the worst rout in nearly 1-1/2 years, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The jump in yields on safe-haven U.S. debt threatened to suck funds out of emerging markets, while the risk of a trade war between the United States and China soured the mood in Asia.

"There are signs that higher bond yields and the knock of a stronger US dollar are having a domino impact, taking down the weakest risky assets first, before moving on to the next," said Alan Ruskin, global co-head of forex at Deutsche.

"There is only so much financial conditions tightening that risky assets can take when fiscal stimulus is still ‘a promise’ that lies some way in the future."

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was off 0.3 percent having suffered its lowest close since mid-July on Friday.

In contrast, Japan’s Nikkei firmed 0.9 percent on the weakening yen to reach its highest in nine months.

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It got an added fillip from data showing Japan’s economy grew at an annualised rate of 2.2 percent in the third quarter, handily beating forecasts.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 added another 0.3 percent early on Monday.

The Dow romped up 5.4 percent last week in its best performance since 2011. The S&P 500’s 3.8 percent gain for the week was its strongest in two years.

Investors have favoured drug and bank stock to reflect Trump’s campaign promises to simplify regulation in the health and financial sectors.

INFLATION ON HORIZON

The stampede from bonds propelled longer-dated U.S. yields to their highest levels since January, with the 30-year yield posting its biggest weekly increase since January 2009.

With the Republicans controlling Congress, there was a real prospect Trump could enact deficit-financed tax cuts and infrastructure spending, ending years of policy deadlock.

The resulting boost to inflation would only be heightened should Trump go through with plans for slapping tariffs on imports and deporting migrants.

The result was a surge in inflation expectations.

One market rate, measuring expected inflation over the five-year period that begins five years from today, shot up 30 basis points to 2.46 percent last week, the highest since late 2014. It had been as low as 1.84 percent in June.

Fed fund futures <0#FF:> in turn imply a better-than-70 percent probability the Fed will hike rates in December.

Yet rising bond yields are tightening financial conditions at a pace that might appear premature to policymakers.

This was a point underlined by Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer on Friday, saying the central bank was monitoring long-term U.S. government borrowing costs even as the economy appeared strong enough to proceed with gradual rate rises.

Mexico’s peso did gain over 1 percent on Monday to around 20.64 pesos per dollar after Trump appeared to soften some of his more incendiary campaign pledges that were seen hurting the Mexican economy.

The New Zealand dollar initially eased after a powerful earthquake rocked the island nation early on Monday, killing at least two people and prompting a tsunami warning that sent thousands fleeing to higher ground.

Yet the currency soon steadied around $0.7115 as rebuilding work promised to support an already strong economy and lessen the need for further interest rate cuts.

In the oil market, Brent crude added 6 cents to $44.81 a barrel, while U.S. crude was flat at $43.41.

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