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Dollar dips, off three-and-a-half month highs as Treasury yields stabilize

New York (Reuters) - The dollar on Tuesday backed off its 3-1/2-month high as U.S. Treasury yields stabilized ahead of key inflation data and Treasury auctions this week, boosting riskier currencies such as the pound, Australian dollar and Kiwi dollar.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. one dollar banknotes are seen in this illustration taken February 8, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The save-haven dollar was 0.46% lower, at 91.95, against a basket of six major currencies, after hitting a 3-1/2-month high of 92.506 during Asian trading hours.

U.S. 10-year Treasury bond yields eased to 1.544% after reaching 1.613% on Monday, close to its 13-month high. Yields had been rising on expectations that a faster-than-expected economic rebound would spark a jump in inflation with President Joe Biden expected to sign a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package as soon as this week.

“We saw yields give back some ground after we had some soothing remarks from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen downplaying prospects of runaway inflation,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

On Monday, Yellen said Biden’s aid package would fuel a “very strong” U.S. economic recovery, and that there are tools to deal with inflation if the economy runs too hot.

But some market participants were wary yields could rise further this week as the market digests a $120 billion auction of 3-, 10-, and 30-year Treasuries, especially after last week’s soft auction and a 7-year note sale that saw a spike in yields.

“I’m not convinced that these gyrations are over,” said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex. “I want to see some follow-through to persuade me.”

U.S. consumer price index and producer price index data, due on Wednesday and Friday, will also be closely watched.

“Stability is likely to remain the theme of the day ahead of the UST auctions and the US inflation release tomorrow, which are the near-term risks for FX markets,” ING strategists said in a daily note.

Commodity-linked currencies benefited from the pull-back in yields, with the Australian dollar gaining 0.9% to $0.7718 and New Zealand dollar gaining 0.65% to $0.7174.

The economic outlook has brightened globally as COVID-19 vaccine rollouts speed up in some countries and also due to the U.S stimulus package, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said, hiking its forecasts.

The euro rose 0.47% to $1.19035 and sterling gained 0.58% to $1.3901.

Looking forward, traders are focused on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting next week. Expectations are low that the central bank will announce major policy changes after Chair Jerome Powell last week did not express concern about rising bond yields.

Reporting by John McCrank; additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho in London, Hideyuki Sano in Tokyok and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; editing by Mark Potter, Steve Orlofsky, David Gregorio and Jonathan Oatis

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