Dollar weakens as global mood turns cautious

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The dollar fell against most currencies on Tuesday, weighed by a drop in U.S. Treasury yields amid a cautious global sentiment with political worries in Europe and weaker stock and commodity markets after a long U.S. holiday weekend.

"There is a whiff of risk aversion about the markets," said Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto, after Japan's Nikkei dropped, European stocks fell and U.S. equity indexes slid.

Commodities were also on the defensive, with U.S. crude oil futures trading below $50 per barrel.

Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell to a more than one-week low, and the dollar was further undermined by weaker-than-expected U.S. consumer confidence data.

In the euro zone, falls in inflation in Spain and several German regions as well as European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi's commitment to continued emergency stimulus initially pushed the euro lower.

Signs that elections in Italy may come as early as September also added to the early pressure on the euro.

"We always knew Italy was going to come back into the market's sights, but I think people thought we would have a longer stay of execution," said Rabobank currency strategist Jane Foley in London.

"It does seem like the market will have to face worries about elections and populism again over the summer. That of course is a drag for the euro."

But the euro recovered as the dollar struggled. The dollar index has been soft over the last two weeks on concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.

In afternoon trading, the dollar index was down 0.18 percent at 97.26, with the euro up 0.21 percent at $1.1187.

Against the safe-haven yen, the dollar dropped 0.46 percent to 110.73 yen, while sliding 0.4 percent versus the Swiss franc to 0.9743 franc.

Tuesday's U.S. economic data, while mixed, still backed the expectation that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month, analysts said.

U.S. consumer spending recorded its biggest increase in four months in April and monthly inflation rebounded. Consumer spending, accounting for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, increased 0.4 percent last month.

The so-called core personal consumption expenditure price index, the Fed's preferred inflation measure, also bounced back 0.2 percent after dipping 0.1 percent in March.