NEW YORK: The US dollar inched higher against a basket of currencies on Tuesday as US benchmark 10-year yields rose from 15-month lows on solid gains in US shares, brushing aside disappointing domestic data on housing starts and consumer confidence.
The US yield curve remained inverted after the interest rates on three-month Treasury bills moved above the yields on 10-year notes for the first time since mid-2007 last Friday.
This market phenomenon, which has preceded every US recession over the past 50 years, triggered a dramatic selloff in stock markets across the globe late last week and a stampede into longer-dated US government debt, putting some pressure on the greenback.
Still, the selling in dollars has been modest as the US economic expansion is still on track to reach a record-long run later this year, despite evidence of flagging since late 2018, analysts said.
“There is a reluctance to buy dollars, while the bar for selling dollars has been relatively high because people have been burned before,” said Steven Englander, global head of G10 FX research at Standard Chartered Bank in New York.
At 11:35 a.m. (1535 GMT), an index that tracks the greenback against a basket of major currencies was up 0.08 percent at 96.643. It touched 96.734 earlier on Tuesday, which was near a 1-1/2 week peak.
The dollar held its ground despite a government report that showed US developers broke ground for single-family homes at the slowest pace in over 1-1/2 years in February.
The Conference Board said its gauge on American consumers’ mood dipped to 124.1 in March, falling short of a 132.0 forecast of analysts polled by Reuters.
The euro slipped on Tuesday, reversing some of Monday’s gains tied to a stronger-than-forecast German business confidence survey.
The euro was down 0.17 percent at $1.1293.
The euro has remained in a range of $1.12 to $1.16 in 2019 despite a slowdown in the euro zone economy that has prompted fresh stimulus from the European Central Bank.
With the dollar mixed across the board, risk appetite recovered, helping to lift the Australian dollar, the Swedish crown and the Norwegian crown.
On the other hand, reduced safe-haven bids caused the yen to fall 0.54 percent to 110.56 per dollar.
Meanwhile, sterling gained 0.28 percent after two eurosceptic lawmakers indicated they could agree to support British Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU withdrawal deal rather than risk the British parliament canceling Brexit altogether.
British lawmakers will vote later Wednesday on a range of options, giving parliament a chance to indicate whether it could agree on a deal with closer ties to Brussels and then try to push the government in that direction.