Currencies: U.S. dollar rises against 5 of 6 main rivals as risk aversion reigns

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The dollar rose against five of its six rival G-10 currencies Tuesday as investors worried that the Fed could raise rates prematurely, and that negotiations between Greece and its creditors could capsize.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +0.00%  , a measure of the buck’s strength against a basket of six rival currencies, rose 1.1% to 98.62, as U.S. stocks plummeted, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average seeing its worst day since Oct. 9.

The dollar climbed against the euro, pound, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona and the franc, but traded lower against the yen, which analysts consider a safe-haven asset.

“The inconsistent gain in the dollar is more of a function of a flight to quality than to the market’s optimistic outlook on the U.S. economy,” said Kathy Lien, managing director of FX Strategy at BK Asset Management. “I think fear is driving the market today,” she noted.

The euro EURUSD, -0.09% traded at $ 1.0700 Tuesday evening, a level not seen since April 2003. That compares with $ 1.0853 late Monday in New York. The shared currency accelerated its slide, flirting with a 12-year low, after Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said European leaders have known all along that Greece would never repay its massive debt.

Analysts said record-low bond yields in Germany, France and elsewhere in Europe implied that the euro will continue to fall. The 10-year bund yield has fallen to a record low of 0.238%, down 7.5 basis points on the day.

“The big move in bunds suggests that the [ECB easing] was not totally priced into the bond markets, which means it may not have been totally priced into the FX market, either,” said Marshall Gittler, head of global FX strategy, in a research note.

Also read: Fed officials grow more confident they can drop their patience

The greenback traded at ¥121.13, after rising to ¥122.01 during the European trading day, its highest level against the Japanese yen USDJPY, -0.03% since July 2007. The dollar bought ¥121.15 late Monday.

Meanwhile, the dollar traded at $ 1.50 to the pound GBPUSD, +0.01% compared with $ 1.51 Monday; at 8.56 krona USDSEK, +0.10%  to the dollar, compared with 8.49; at 0.9994 franc USDCHF, -0.05%  to the dollar, versus 0.9864 and 78.79 cents to the Canadian dollar CADUSD, +0.02%  , up from 79.21.

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