Dollar up on higher yield, euro bruised by Greek anxiety

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar held firm on Tuesday after U.S. bond yields jumped and as the euro came under renewed pressure on persistent worries that Greece may miss debt repayments next month.

The dollar gained about one percent against a basket of six major currencies on Monday. It last stood at 94.132 <.DXY>, having bounced back from four-month low of 93.133 hit last Thursday.

The main catalyst for the dollar’s rebound was a rise in U.S. debt yields. The 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield rose to 2.234 percent, erasing declines on Friday following disappointing U.S. data.

U.S. debt yields rose despite weak U.S. housing data published on Monday, which showed sentiment among U.S. homebuilders slipped in May even as economists had forecast a small improvement.

The euro slipped back to $1.1317 from $1.1468 on Friday, its highest level in three months, as the common currency was undermined by renewed concerns over Greece’s debt repayments.

Investors dumped Greek bonds on Monday as Athens and its creditors made slow progress in bridging gaps on a range of issues.

In a leaked internal memo, first disclosed by Britain’s Channel 4 on Saturday, the International Monetary Fund acknowledged Greece had little chance of making a payment due on June 5 and said it would not be pushed into a “quick and dirty” review to disburse further bailout funds to Athens.

Still, the common currency could rise further as many investors are stuck with euro short positions, said Junya Tanase, chief FX strategist at JPMorgan Chase Bank in Tokyo.

“There still remains a massive amount of euro short positions. The euro also looked undervalued in terms of yield gaps between the euro and the dollar. The euro could be bought back and the dollar’s rebound may prove to be a temporary one,” he said.

Sterling, which had rallied after Prime Minister David Cameron’s election victory and some strong UK economic data earlier this month, also lost steam.

The cable stood at $1.5656, off 5 1/2-month high of $1.5815.

The dollar also edged up to 119.92 yen from last week’s low of 118.885.

The Australian dollar was steady at $0.7994 ahead of the minutes of the Australian central bank’s policy meeting due at 9.30 p.m. EDT.

The Reserve Bank of Australia cut rates for the second time this year in that meeting to buttress the economy.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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