The dollar was on the back foot in morning Asia trade as US Treasuries steadied and oil prices declined further following news of growing US stockpiles.
The dollar index tracking the greenback against a basket of peers was off as much as 0.3 per cent as a rally spurred higher by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s comments at the start of the week lost steam.
A wide swathe of currencies made minor gains on the dollar, though South Korea’s won led the way with a rise of 0.4 per cent. The yen, euro, Canadian dollar and Swiss franc had all gained 0.1 per cent in the morning Asia session.
Tokyo’s Topix index clawed its way back to flat after an initial drop in the morning session, though the Nikkei 225 index was still down 0.2 per cent. Shares in Toshiba continued to fall in the wake of this week’s announcement of a $6.3bn writedown, with a 2.5 per cent drop bringing shares down 18.1 per cent since Monday’s close.
Shares in Australian biotech company CSL were up 1.8 per cent as investors basked in the afterglow of Wednesday’s half-year results showing profits had risen 12 per cent from a year prior. The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.1 per cent in Sydney.
On Wednesday anticipation of deregulation under President Donald Trump that could include repeal of Dodd-Frank legislation saw the banking sub-index of the FTSE All-World equity index rise 0.9 per cent as the global stock gauge reached a record intraday high of 293.73, surpassing the previous peak set in May 2015.
After five days of deterioration 10-year US Treasuries were improving from their lowest level in more than two weeks. That followed a second round of comments from Ms Yellen made to the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday and mounting speculation that the Fed could raise interest rates again in March.
Yield, which moves opposite to price, on the 10-year US notes was down 1 basis point after rising 13bp over the previous five days.
Moves in Asia Pacific sovereign bonds were largely muted, though yield on the New Zealand 10-year note was up 5bp for the second day running after an ANZ consumer confidence index recorded a fall-back in January from a 21-month high.
Oil prices notched additional albeit smaller declines after dropping on Wednesday in response to news that US oil stocks had climbed for a sixth straight week.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, was down 0.1 per cent at $55.81 a barrel after dipping 0.4 per cent the previous day. West Texas intermediate, the American marker, was off by the same amount in Asia trading at $53.06 after dropping 0.2 per cent on Wednesday.