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