US dollar edges away from 13-year peak, Asian stocks track Wall Street decline

A US$100 bill displayed with other US notes.
A US$100 bill displayed with other US notes.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

TOKYO (REUTERS) - The US dollar edged away from a 13-year peak on Thursday (Nov 17), following an easing of the week-long surge in Treasury yields that was fuelled by hopes for the Trump administration's economic policies, and Asian stocks slipped on Wall Street's overnight dip.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a basket of major currencies, stood at 100.410 after climbing to 100.570 overnight, its highest since April 2003.

The currency has been on a tear since Mr Donald Trump was elected president last week, stoking expectations of big fiscal spending and sending US Treasury debt yields soaring on the prospect of higher interest rates.

But the rout in US bond prices began to slow, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield pulling back to around 2.2 per cent after touching an 11-month high above 2.3 per cent earlier in the week.

"The Trump-related move in fixed income has been very strong while information flow about the path of economic policy has not been. It's perhaps not surprising then that the rates market took a breather," wrote Ms Sharon Zollner, senior economist at ANZ.

"The price action in fixed income suggests that the market has moved sufficiently for the time being, which raises the possibility that the dollar's rise may be due for a period of consolidation."

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 per cent, having lost more than 1 per cent so far this week as the prospect of higher US interest rates under a Trump presidency has not been kind to emerging markets.

Japan's Nikkei lost 0.4 per cent and Australian stocks shed 0.3 per cent.

In currencies, the US dollar dipped 0.1 per cent to 108.930 yen following a surge to a five-month high of 109.760 overnight. The euro added 0.1 per cent to US$1.0702 after seeing an 11-month low of US$1.0666.

Crude oil prices eased as the market gave more weight to a bigger-than-expected US crude inventory build than Russia's comments about a possible meeting with Saudi Arabia that renewed hopes for a production freeze deal.

US crude was down 0.25 per cent at US$45.45 a barrel.

Gold nudged up slightly as the dollar consolidated. Spot gold inched up 0.1 per cent to US$1,226.31 an ounce, putting some distance between the five-month low of US$1,211.08 seen on Monday.

Gold had still lost roughly US$100 an ounce from last Wednesday's post-US election high on the back of the sharp rise in bond yields and burgeoning appetite for risk.