By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar’s advance against its major peers slowed on Tuesday as a rise in sovereign bond yields paused, with investors awaiting comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for fresh cues on policy direction.
The dollar was 0.1 percent higher at 114.190 yen following a rise to a two-month high of 114.300 overnight.
The euro was effectively flat at $1.1394 after inching down about 0.1 percent the previous day.
“The dollar is capped as the surge in German bund yields stopped overnight and in turn dragged down U.S. Treasury yields. The recent surge in bond yields appears overdone and we are seeing a bit of a correction,” said Yukio Ishizuki, senior currency strategist at Daiwa Securities.
Investors have dumped euro zone government bonds over the past two weeks on expectations the European Central Bank (ECB) would unwind extraordinary stimulus sooner rather than later. The resulting surge in euro zone yields had also helped the benchmark Treasury yield climb to two-month highs on Friday.
Japanese government bond (JGB) yields had also tracked the rise in their U.S. and euro zone counterparts. Last week, however, the Bank of Japan stepped in and halted the move through a special debt-buying operation, intent on keeping yields anchored close to zero.
With U.S. yields free to rise, the spread between 10-year Treasury and JGB yields is the widest it has been in two months, contributing to the dollar’s strength against the yen.
“JGB yields can’t move at all after the BOJ came out and stopped the yield rise with brute force, leaving the door open for the U.S.-Japan yield spread to widen,” said Ishizuki at Daiwa Securities.
The next large cue for the currency market was seen coming from Fed’s Yellen, due to make a semi-annual testimony before the U.S. Congress on Wednesday and Thursday.
Dollar bulls are banking on Yellen to retain her hawkish stance, emboldened by last Friday’s relatively robust U.S. non-farm jobs report.
“The main focus is whether Yellen makes it clear in Congress that the Fed intends to begin winding down quantitative easing. Once the intent is shown in front of Congress, the next step would be to actually follow through with it,” said Koji Fukaya, president of FPG Securities in Tokyo.
The pound was little changed at $1.2877. It was within reach of a two-week low of $1.2855 plumbed overnight after a run of lackluster data cast doubt over the Bank of England’s recent warnings that it is on the verge of raising borrowing costs.
BoE Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent is due to speak later in the day, giving investors a chance to hear the views of an interest-rate setter’s first public comments since a narrow vote to keep rates unchanged last month.
The Australian dollar inched up 0.2 percent to $0.7619 as the greenback’s broader advance slowed.
The New Zealand dollar slipped 0.5 percent to $0.7238 on lackluster local data showing that electronic retail card spending remained unchanged in June.
(Editing by Sam Holmes)