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Europe, Forex

Dollar firms on sudden spike in U.S. Treasury yields

* U.S. dollar firms after hitting seven-week low * 10-year U.S. Treasury yield pops to 1.6% * Graphic: World FX rates (Updates prices, bond market action) By Karen Brettell and David Henry NEW YORK, Feb 25 (Reuters) – The dollar index lifted off a seven-week low on Thursday after yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries jumped as high as 1.6% following weaker-than-expected bids in a U.S. government debt auction. The move was the latest example of currency markets taking their cue from bonds, which have been moving on the changing outlook for economic growth and inflation following unprecedented government stimulus and monetary easing along with increasing COVID-19 vaccinations. The dollar was up 0.27% against a basket of currencies in the early New York afternoon after dipping as much as 0.26% to 89.677, its lowest since Jan. 8. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was 1.55%, still up 16 basis points on the day. The spike to 1.6% came in the early afternoon when an auction of $62 billion of 7-year notes was met with weak demand. The rise in bond yields, after adjusting for inflation, has accelerated in recent days, indicating a growing belief that central banks may begin to pare back ultra-loose policies, even as officials maintain a dovish rhetoric. “It has been a global move,” said Vassili Serebriakov, an FX strategist at UBS in New York. “Those higher bond yields are a symptom of expectations of a strong economic rebound after the pandemic.” Data on Thursday showed that fewer Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week amid falling COVID-19 infections. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated on Wednesday that the U.S. central bank would not tighten its policy until the economy improves. Commodity-linked currencies, including the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars, all hit three-year highs earlier in the day as their bond yields surged. “The U.S. has actually lagged a lot of these other countries in terms of the yield moves,” said Erik Nelson, a macro strategist at Wells Fargo in New York, noting that New Zealand’s 10-year government bond yield had gained 18 basis points on Thursday. The Aussie reached $0.8007 against the greenback and was last down 1% at $0.7882. New Zealand’s kiwi hit $0.7463 and then fell, last off 1.29% for the day. Weighing on the Aussie were lower oil and U.S. stock prices and a narrowing of Australian and U.S. bond yields, according to strategists at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The Canadian dollar got as far as 1.2468 per U.S. dollar, but was last at $1.2610. The euro rose to a three-week high, gaining 0.5% before backing off. It was last off 0.05% at $1.2164. The safe-haven Japanese yen, which tends to underperform when global growth improves, weakened as far as 106.29 yen per dollar. “Some of the currencies that typically don’t do well in a global rebound are lagging,” Serebriakov said. Changes in the dollar have been different against different currencies recently. “It’s not just across the board the way it was last year when everything was driven by U.S. real yields falling and selling dollars across the board,” Serebriakov added. ======================================================== Currency bid prices at 3:41PM (2041 GMT) Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid Previous Change Session Dollar index 90.2800 90.0450 +0.27% 0.332% +90.2890 +89.6770 Euro/Dollar $1.2164 $1.2170 -0.05% +0.00% +$1.2244 +$1.2140 Dollar/Yen 106.2850 105.8600 +0.43% +0.00% +106.3950 +105.8800 Euro/Yen 129.29 128.79 +0.39% +0.00% +129.9700 +128.7900 Dollar/Swiss 0.9062 0.9065 -0.03% +0.00% +0.9081 +0.9029 Sterling/Dollar $1.4007 $1.4143 -0.95% +0.00% +$1.4182 +$1.4001 Dollar/Canadian 1.2610 1.2515 +0.78% +0.00% +1.2612 +1.2468 Aussie/Dollar $0.7862 $0.7968 -1.29% +0.00% +$0.8007 +$0.7859 Euro/Swiss 1.1023 1.1029 -0.05% +0.00% +1.1097 +1.1015 Euro/Sterling 0.8683 0.8604 +0.92% +0.00% +0.8697 +0.8597 NZ $0.7360 $0.7443 -1.07% +0.00% +$0.7464 +$0.7360 Dollar/Dollar Dollar/Norway 8.4950 8.3720 +1.50% +0.00% +8.5055 +8.3200 Euro/Norway 10.3410 10.1916 +1.47% +0.00% +10.3520 +10.1759 Dollar/Sweden 8.2989 8.2747 +0.31% +0.00% +8.3001 +8.2067 Euro/Sweden 10.0955 10.0642 +0.31% +0.00% +10.0968 +10.0410 (Reporting by David Henry and Karen Brettell in New York; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Will Dunham)

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