FOREX-Dollar back in vogue as firmer U.S. yields help

Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:20am EST

Related Topics

* Dollar recovers as U.S. retail sales halt slide in U.S. yields

* Yen, Australian dollar among biggest casualties

* Canadian dollar hits four-year low

By Anirban Nag

LONDON, Jan 15 (Reuters) - The dollar index gained for a second straight day on Wednesday, helped by firmer U.S. yields that pulled the greenback away from a one-month low against the yen and sent the euro lower.

Traders said U.S. yields , which correlate with the dollar index, were helped by upbeat retail sales. The data offset Friday's disappointingly soft payrolls and halted a two-day slide in U.S. Treasury yields.

The dollar index was up 0.25 percent at 80.858, with gains seen across the board. It was up 0.1 percent at 104.35 yen , building on Tuesday's recovery, when it rallied more than 1 percent to pull away from a near one-month trough of 102.85 yen.

The euro was down 0.3 percent against the dollar at $1.3635 while growth-linked currencies also weakened. The Australian dollar fell 0.6 percent to $0.8905 while the dollar rose to a four-year high against its Canadian counterpart of C$1.0977.

"It is mostly a dollar move higher and we like the yen weakening some more especially against the dollar," said Alvin Tan, currency strategist at Societe Generale.

"The drop in the Canadian dollar is part of the U.S. dollar strength story, though in the short term we feel that the sell-off may have been a bit overdone."

Also helping underpin the dollar, two of the Federal Reserve's most hawkish policymakers who take up voting power this year said the central bank should bring its bond-buying programme to a swift close.

Investors quickly brought forward the likely timing of the first Fed rate hike to August 2015 , having only just pushed it out towards the back end of 2015 in the wake of Friday's jobs numbers.

In contrast, the Bank of Japan is expected continue pumping in trillions of yen to help the economic recovery while the European Central Bank is still grappling with falling inflation and has pledged to keep rates low for longer.

But with the ECB's balance sheet still contracting as banks repay cheap loans availed of earlier, the euro's losses against the dollar are likely to be muted, analysts said. Repayment of these loans cause excess liquidity in the euro zone banking system to shrink and push up short term money market rates.

"Tight euro zone liquidity in the short term is probably slightly positive for the euro, although we are encouraged to have seen the euro/dollar rally, post U.S. jobs data, to have stalled at $1.3700," said Chris Turner, head of currency strategy at ING.

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