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Dollar slide continues, yuan rally gets attention

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·3-min read
A packet of Lincoln five dollar bills is inspected at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington
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By David Henry

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar extended its nearly two-month slide against major peers on Tuesday as U.S. interest rates fell on U.S. Federal Reserve arguments for easy monetary policy despite current inflationary forces.

The dollar weakness came as U.S. Treasury yields fell to fresh multi-week lows and the yield curve flattened after an auction of two-year notes attracted solid demand.

Benchmark 10-year Treasuries fell as low as 1.56% on Tuesday afternoon.

Interest rates in many other countries have climbed in the past month and made their currencies more competitive against the dollar, said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex in New York.

The current outlook is for that difference to continue, he added. "The Federal Reserve seems to be behind several other central banks in adjusting and recalibrating monetary policy."

Since the end of March the dollar has declined on the belief that low U.S. rates will drive cash abroad to capture gains now that other economies are beginning to recover more quickly from the pandemic.

The dollar index against major currencies was off 0.2% in the afternoon in New York at 89.646. Early in the day it fell to 89.533, the lowest since Jan. 7.

The euro climbed to January levels and was last up 0.3% on the day at $1.2253.

Early in the day, China state-owned banks were seen trying to curb a yuan rally which carried the onshore yuan to 6.4016 per dollar, the strongest since 2018.

China's major state-owned banks, four sources said, were seen buying U.S. dollars at around 6.4 yuan in the Asian afternoon in a move viewed as an effort to cool a yuan rally led by its offshore counterpart.

Strategists have said the dollar is likely be weak against many currencies until markets see stronger U.S. economic data and interest rates. Stronger data could come on Friday with new readings on U.S. core consumer prices in April and a survey of purchasing managers.

Comments from Fed officials are keeping down U.S. yields, said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC. "That's maintaining the weaker dollar narrative."

Dovish comments from Fed speakers continued on Tuesday with a speech by Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, who said recent inflation reports reflected only a "burst of post-pandemic relative price level adjustments." [nL2N2NB2JR]

Two other Fed officials made similar statements on Monday.

The British pound, which had run up about 2% against the dollar since April, was stalled at $1.4149 as though it could not break through $1.42. [GBP/]

Sterling needs fresh evidence of British economic strength to get back to the 2021 high of $1.4240 reached in February, traders and analysts said.

Cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ether were off about 3% for the day in the afternoon in New York.

(Reporting by David Henry in New York and Ritvik Carvalho in London; Editing by Alistair Bell and Richard Chang)