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Dollar dominates as hedge funds cut shorts on Treasury yield rise

03/22/2021 | 06:18am EDT

* Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar held near a four-month high on Monday as rising U.S. Treasury yields fuelled demand for the greenback and prompted hedge funds to cut bearish positions.

Turkey's shock weekend decision to replace its hawkish central bank governor also supported the dollar's safe-haven appeal.

Markets have been slow to catch on to the rising dollar theme in recent weeks as investors had bet that a global economic recovery would prompt buying of riskier currencies.

But rising U.S. Treasury yields and the prospect of more lockdowns in several euro zone countries has driven a widespread unwinding of short dollar bets.

"Speculators finally capitulated to dollar strength," said Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at BDSwiss.

Though benchmark U.S. Treasury yields declined on Monday, yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury debt have risen for seven consecutive weeks.

As a result, traders cut their long euro bets to their lowest levels since June 2020 while net positions against the Japanese yen flipped into positive territory for the first time in more than a year, latest positioning data showed.

LIRA SLIDES

Worries that Turkish market upheaval would spill into others also supported the dollar, especially against currencies like the Australian dollar and Norway's crown.

The Turkish lira stood at 7.9600 per dollar, down nearly 10% from its Friday close. At one point the lira fell by as much as 14.9% to 8.4850, close to a record low of 8.5800.

"Other emerging market countries are not in the same position as Turkey, but there still could be some contagion," said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

JP Morgan increased its long U.S. dollar position in its currency portfolio by shorting the Swedish crown along with existing shorts of the euro, Swiss franc and the Japanese yen.

Against a basket of its rivals, the dollar was broadly steady at 92.022 and within sight of a near four-month high of 92.50 hit earlier this month.

The euro fell slightly to $1.1892.

A decline in risk appetite weighed on the Australian dollar , which fell 0.3% to $0.7724. The New Zealand dollar fell 0.1% to $0.7158.

(Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Editing by Philippa Fletcher and Alexander Smith)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / CANADIAN DOLLAR (AUD/CAD) 0.26% 0.92955 Delayed Quote.-5.95%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / EURO (AUD/EUR) 0.41% 0.62553 Delayed Quote.-1.60%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / JAPANESE YEN (AUD/JPY) 0.48% 81 Delayed Quote.1.27%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (AUD/NZD) -0.14% 1.04828 Delayed Quote.-1.60%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / SWISS FRANC (AUD/CHF) 0.40% 0.67122 Delayed Quote.-2.13%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (AUD/USD) 0.30% 0.7419 Delayed Quote.-4.33%
BRITISH POUND / AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (GBP/AUD) -0.19% 1.87781 Delayed Quote.6.29%
CANADIAN DOLLAR / AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (CAD/AUD) -0.26% 1.075778 Delayed Quote.6.32%
CANADIAN DOLLAR / EURO (CAD/EUR) 0.13% 0.673061 Delayed Quote.4.67%
EURO / AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (EUR/AUD) -0.42% 1.59815 Delayed Quote.1.67%
EURO / SWEDISH KRONA (EUR/SEK) -0.12% 10.19774 Delayed Quote.1.52%
NORWEGIAN KRONER / SWEDISH KRONA (NOK/SEK) 0.16% 0.9761 Delayed Quote.1.57%
US DOLLAR / TURKISH LIRA (USD/TRY) 0.31% 8.43 Delayed Quote.12.40%
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