Dollar, euro shrug after US 10-year yield hits 3 percent

Key Points
  • The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield tops 3 percent for the first time since 2014
  • Markets expect a cautious note from ECB on Thursday
Dado Ruvic | Reuters

The U.S. dollar and euro were largely unchanged on Tuesday as the 10-year Treasury yield broke through the psychologically significant barrier of 3 percent.

The dollar index hit a three-month high of 91.076 against a basket of six currencies in morning trade, though the big gains on rising U.S. government bond yields mostly occurred on Monday.

"Yesterday was a big day in terms of Treasury yields impacting currencies. Today, the 10-year did claw its way up to 3 percent to no big effect as far as currencies are concerned," said Alan Ruskin, global head of currency strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York.

The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield rose above 3 percent on Tuesday for the first time in more than four years as investors reduced their U.S. bond holdings on worries about rising inflation and growing government debt supply.

The dollar's gains on Tuesday drove the euro down slightly past the two-month low hit Monday, on growing concerns that firmer U.S. Treasury yields would reduce incremental demand for the region's bonds and stocks at a time when hedge funds have amassed record long bets in the single currency.

Some lingering worries that European Central Bank policymakers may signal a more cautious stance at a policy meeting on Thursday also pulled the single currency lower.

But after its sizeable fall overnight, the euro looked resilient on Tuesday, remaining well above the annual low reached in early January.

"The euro seems to be on cruise control, trading sideways, although we do believe it is going to continue its march higher," said Douglas Borthwick, managing director at Chapdelaine Foreign Exchange in New York.

The single currency stabilized at around $1.22 on Tuesday after having plumbed to a low of $1.218 in the Asian session, its lowest since March 1. It was last up 0.20 percent at 1.2232.

The Mexican peso has risen 4.8 percent to 18.961 per dollar in the past four trading days. The currency has been weakening on the back of polls showing left-wing presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the lead ahead of the July 2018 general election.

"The leftist leader, who is way ahead in the polls, looks like he may win and the market is questioning whether that is a positive or negative for the Mexican peso right now it looks like its negative," said Borthwick.

The dollar set a 2-and-a-1/2 month high of 109.17 . It was last up 0.08 percent at 108.79.

The rise in U.S. bond yields has dented emerging market currencies and bond markets, including those in Asia.

Higher U.S. yields can put pressure on the currencies of emerging market countries that run current account deficits such as Indonesia and India, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore.

A stronger dollar also intensified pressure on some commodity-linked currencies such as the which tumbled 0.4 percent to 0.7577 per dollar, its lowest since Dec. 13.