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US dollar hits 1-month high vs yen as US yields rise on Mnuchin comments

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 08:22

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The US dollar hit a one-month high against the yen on Tuesday, lifted by Treasury yields which surged after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin commented on the possibility of ultra long-term bond issuance.

[TOKYO] The US dollar hit a one-month high against the yen on Tuesday, lifted by Treasury yields which surged after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin commented on the possibility of ultra long-term bond issuance.

The greenback last traded at 111.800 yen after touching 111.945, its highest since March 31.

The US dollar was boosted as long-term Treasury yields soared to multi-week highs after Mr Mnuchin reiterated his view in an interview with Bloomberg, saying the government issuing debt exceeding 30-years in maturity "can absolutely make sense".

"The dollar is moving in tandem with Treasury yields, which saw its benchmark rise above the 2.3 per cent threshold with Mnuchin seemingly very enthusiastic about issuing so-called ultra long-term bonds," said Yukio Ishizaki, senior currency strategist at Daiwa Securities.

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The jump in US debt yields helped the US dollar brush off negative pressure from downbeat data.

Reports on Monday showed US factory activity slowed in April, while consumer spending was unchanged in March, and an important inflation measure fell on a monthly basis for the first time since 2001.

The euro, on the other hand, held its ground against the US dollar. The common currency was up 0.1 per cent at US$1.0909 , adding to modest gains made overnight.

It was in reach of a 5-1/2-month high of US$1.0951 scaled last week on relief after Emmanuel Macron's victory against anti-euro nationalist Marine Le Pen in the first round of France's presidential elections. The runoff vote is on May 7.

"The euro was initially expected to become volatile as the May 7 French vote neared, but it is still holding very firm. With French equities also at record highs, it appears that the market is treating Macron's win as a foregone conclusion," Mr Ishizaki at Daiwa Securities said.

The euro traded at 122.00 yen after touching a 1-1/2-month high of 122.150.

The Australian dollar was a shade higher at US$0.7532 , drawing support from a bounce in iron ore prices.

Of key importance for the Aussie was the Reserve Bank of Australia's policy decision later in the day. While the central bank is widely expected to stand pat on interest rates, investors were keen to know whether it would recognise recently upbeat domestic economic data.

The US dollar index against a basket of major currencies was effectively flat at 99.073 after posting a small gain overnight.

REUTERS

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