May 16, 2018 / 12:33 AM / a year ago

Dollar near 5-month high after benchmark Treasury yield soars above 3 pct

TOKYO (Reuters) - The dollar hovered near a five-month high against a group of major currencies on Wednesday, as a surge in the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield above 3 percent reignited a rally that had lost steam last week.

FILE PHOTO - A photo illustration taken in Istanbul shows a U.S. 100 dollar banknote against Turkish lira banknotes of various denominations January 7, 2014. REUTERS/Murad Sezer/Illustration/File Photo

The dollar index versus a basket of six major peers added 0.1 percent to 93.335 .DXY after rallying to 93.457 overnight, its highest since Dec. 22.

The greenback had gained with few interruptions since mid-April as easing tensions in the Korean Peninsula and moves by China and the United States to prevent a full-blown trade war allowed investors to focus on the yield advantage the United States enjoys over other countries.

The advance stalled last week after weaker-than-expected April U.S. inflation data, but regained traction overnight as strong U.S. consumer spending numbers sent long-term Treasury yields surging to a seven-year peak of 3.095 percent US10YT=RR.

The 10-year Treasury yield had hovered around 3 percent since reaching the threshold late last month on concerns about rising inflation and a ballooning federal budget gap. But until Tuesday, 3 percent level wasn’t convincingly broken. [US/]

“The dollar stands to benefit, particularly against the euro, on higher Treasury yields. But against the yen, its advance could stall if the negative impact of higher yields on equities is prolonged,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

The yen tends to benefit during times of market turmoil and investor risk aversion.

“The next focal point is trying to figure out the yield levels which are bearable for equities,” Ishikawa said.

The uptick in U.S. yields unnerved equity markets and sent Wall Street shares significantly lower on Tuesday. [.N]

The euro was 0.1 percent lower at $1.1823 EUR= after brushing $1.1817, its weakest since late December.

The dollar was little changed at 110.300 yen JPY=, having risen to 110.450 overnight, its strongest since Feb. 5.

The yen barely budged after data showed Japan’s economy contracted for the first time in nine quarters during January-March. [nT9N1DU04F]

The Australian dollar was largely flat at $0.7467 AUD=D4 after sliding 0.7 percent overnight. The New Zealand dollar, which fell about 0.75 percent the previous day to a five-month trough of $0.6855 NZD=D4, last traded at $0.6882.

The pound was a shade weaker at $1.3499 GBP=D3 after slipping to $1.3452 on Tuesday, its lowest since Dec. 29.

Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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