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Dollar bounces higher as traders brace for inflation data

WORK LIFE
By Reuters | April 12th 2021

The dollar gained ground on Monday after last week’s drop as traders assessed the outlook for Treasury yields, while awaiting crucial U.S. inflation and retail sales data in coming days.

Elsewhere it was a quiet start to a data-heavy week for foreign exchange markets.

The euro dipped back below $1.19 while the British pound briefly fell to a two-month low, with some analysts citing blood clot concerns around AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which the UK has relied heavily on for its aggressive vaccination programme.

The dollar’s fortunes have been tied to the performance of Treasury yields for most of 2021, after concerns about rising inflation in the United States and a stimulus-fuelled economic rebound triggered a significant jump in yields on U.S. government bonds in February.

A fall in U.S. yields last week triggered the worst week for the dollar in 2021, but the currency found some stability on Monday.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a U.S. media interview released on Sunday that the U.S. economy was at “an inflection point” and looked set for a strong rebound in the coming months, but he also warned of risks stemming from a hasty reopening.

Investors are now waiting for U.S. March inflation data due on Tuesday.

“We are set to see the first evidence of the much anticipated surge in inflation that is widely expected through the coming months as base effects from a year ago begin to take effect as the sharp declines post-COVID start to fall out of the annual calculations,” said MUFG analysts.

They said the dollar’s fortunes could well “remain linked to 10-year yields”.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.6462 per cent after dropping to as low as 1.6170 per cent last week. It had surged to a more than a one-year high of 1.7760 per cent on March 30.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose 0.1 per cent to 92.275 while the euro dropped 0.2 per cent to $1.1875.

Bitcoin traded above $60,000, closing the gap to its record high.

Against the pound the dollar initially gained before reversing course. The British currency was last up 0.2 per cent at $1.3734 after briefly touching a two-month low of $1.3669.

The dollar fell 0.2 per cent to 109.41 yen versus the Japanese currency.

“USD has some upside potential this week,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia strategist Kimberley Mundy wrote in a report.

“Strong U.S. economic data will highlight the divergence between the U.S.’s fast economic recovery and the more stunted recoveries in other developed economies.”

The dollar can lift back toward 110 yen, while the euro has scope to retrace most of the recent gains from its almost five-month low near $1.17, she said.

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