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FOREX-Yen skids to four-year low as stocks rally with Treasury yields

·4 min read

* Rise in 10-year U.S. yields increase allure for Japan investors * Two-year yields drop as traders cut bets for early Fed lift-off * Dollar hurt as other central banks seen outpacing Fed tightening * Safe-haven yen, dollar out of favour amid global equity rally * Aussie, kiwi gain to multi-month peaks; bitcoin near record high By Kevin Buckland TOKYO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - U.S. bonds drove currencies on Wednesday, with a rise in long-term rates pushing the dollar to an almost four-year high on the yen, but a decline in shorter-dated yields putting it on the back foot against most other major peers. The dollar and yen were also under pressure from a global equity rally that sapped demand for assets regarded as safe havens. The dollar climbed as high as 114.585 yen for the first time since November 2017, with benchmark 10-year Treasury yields touching a fresh five-month high at 1.6630% in Asia. Higher long-term U.S. yields increase the allure of those assets to Japanese investors. However, two-year Treasury yields hovered around 0.4016% after retreating sharply overnight from Monday's 19-month high of 0.4480%, signalling a scaling back of bets for early Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. That contrasted to a rise this week in bets on faster rate increases in the U.K. and New Zealand, which also pulled up expectations in neighbours like the euro zone and Australia. The risk-sensitive Aussie and New Zealand dollars touched fresh multi-month highs on Wednesday, and cryptocurrency bitcoin hovered close to an all-time high. "Risk sentiment remains in the ascendancy," while "a fall-back in front-end U.S. yields, so symptomatic of a slight paring back in expectations for when Fed rates 'lift-off' might occur," dealt the dollar a double-whammy, Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank in Sydney, wrote in a research note. At the same time, markets are coming to "the - highly belated - realisation that whether the Fed raises (its policy) rate in 2022 or not until later, other central banks are getting in ahead of them ... with the Bank of England likely next cab off the rank as early as next month," Attrill said. The dollar index - which measures the greenback versus six rivals, including the yen - slipped 0.12% to 93.698, dropping back toward Tuesday's low at 93.501, the weakest level this month. Just last week it hit a one-year high of 94.563 as traders priced in a tapering of Fed stimulus as soon as next month, followed by rate hikes next year. The U.S. economic outlook got a little less rosy on Tuesday after data showed that U.S. homebuilding unexpectedly fell in September and permits dropped to a one-year low amid acute shortages of raw materials and labour, supporting expectations that economic growth slowed sharply in the third quarter. The euro added 0.15% to $$1.1649 from Tuesday, when it jumped as high as $1.1670 for the first time since Sept. 29. Sterling rose 0.16% to $1.3810 after touching a one-month peak of $1.3834 in the previous session. The Aussie traded 0.31% higher at $0.7500, after touching the highest since July 7 at $0.7505. New Zealand's kiwi dollar climbed 0.32% to $0.7177, and earlier reached $0.7179 for the first time since June 11. Bitcoin weakened slightly to just below $64,000 after touching a six-month high of $64,499 on Tuesday, close to its record peak at $64,895.22. In the equities space, Asia-Pacific stocks extended a global rally on Wednesday, with an index of regional shares adding 0.51%. "The move in equities has seen the USD and JPY shunned," Chris Weston, head of research at brokerage Pepperstone in Melbourne, wrote in a client note. "It's really just pick a JPY cross and see the 'rip your face off' move," he said. "This is a momentum play here and timing the pullback in JPY crosses is key, but it doesn't feel like we're going to see a rush to cover JPY shorts anytime soon in this dynamic." ======================================================== Currency bid prices at 0444 GMT Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid Previous Change Session Euro/Dollar $1.1649 $1.1632 +0.15% -4.65% +1.1650 +1.1628 Dollar/Yen 114.5450 114.4000 +0.08% +10.84% +114.6950 +114.4700 Euro/Yen Dollar/Swiss 0.9239 0.9230 +0.12% +4.45% +0.9244 +0.9229 Sterling/Dollar 1.3810 1.3790 +0.16% +1.10% +1.3814 +1.3788 Dollar/Canadian 1.2337 1.2363 -0.20% -3.11% +1.2367 +1.2338 Aussie/Dollar 0.7500 0.7477 +0.31% -2.51% +0.7504 +0.7465 NZ 0.7177 0.7154 +0.32% -0.06% +0.7179 +0.7147 Dollar/Dollar All spots Tokyo spots Europe spots Volatilities Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ (Reporting by Kevin Buckland Editing by Shri Navaratnam)