FOREX-Dollar ascendant as Powell sticks to script; risk currencies slide


    * Dollar hits new highs against euro, Japanese yen
    * Commodity currencies sell off on risk aversion
    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

 (Adds comments, updates prices and milestones)
    By Kevin Buckland and Sagarika Jaisinghani
    TOKYO, March 5 (Reuters) - The dollar hit multi-month highs
against the euro and the yen on Friday after Federal Reserve
Chair Jerome Powell did not express concern about a recent
sell-off in bonds while sticking to his stance to keep interest
rates low for a long time. 
    While Powell did stick with dovish rhetoric overall, he said
the sell-off in Treasuries was not "disorderly" or likely to
push long-term rates so high the Fed might have to intervene
more forcefully, reigniting a sell-off in Treasuries.

    He also reiterated a commitment to maintain ultra-easy
monetary policy until the economy is "very far along the road to
recovery." 
    "Markets are listening to the central banks and if they are
going to be on hold for a long time, that means long-term
inflation is going to be higher and that's why you're seeing the
bond and equity markets sell off," said Commonwealth Bank of
Australia currency analyst Joseph Capurso. "The currency markets
are reacting to the increase in volatility in both those
markets."     
    The euro slipped 0.2% to a three-month low of
$1.19515 following a 0.7% slump overnight.
    The dollar hit an eight-month high of 108.035 yen
earlier in the session before giving up much of its gains. 
    Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso declined to comment on
the yen's decline when asked about how the depreciation would
affect the economy.
    The dollar index hit a three-month high and last
stood at 91.672 in the Asian session after gaining 0.7% on
Thursday
    The dollar's gains came as the benchmark 10-year Treasury
yield jumped back above 1.5%, rising as high as
1.584% in Asia. Last week, it soared to a one-year peak of
1.614%.
    Impending U.S. fiscal stimulus is adding fuel to
expectations of higher inflation, as the accelerating roll-out
of COVID-19 vaccines boosts confidence in an economic recovery.

    Riskier currencies including the Australian and New Zealand
dollars slid along with stocks as investor sentiment again
turned sour.
    "Once the bond rout comes to an end, once the volatility
fades away, the commodity currencies (the Aussie and the kiwi)
are going to be able to climb back up because commodity prices
aren't falling," said Capurso at CBA. 
    The Aussie weakened 0.3% to $0.7705, extending
Thursday's 0.7% drop. The kiwi fell 0.2%, adding to its
0.8% slide overnight.
    In the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin fell 2.3%
to $47,272.65. Ether dropped 3.6% to $1,483.43.

========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 0359 GMT
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.1963        $1.1973     -0.08%         -2.09%      +1.1977     +1.1952
 Dollar/Yen                   107.9450       107.9400    +0.01%         +4.51%      +108.0050   +107.8250
 Euro/Yen                     129.13         129.25      -0.09%         +1.74%      +129.3100   +128.9000
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.9286         0.9288      -0.02%         +4.97%      +0.9296     +0.9286
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3903         1.3897      +0.06%         +1.79%      +1.3906     +1.3868
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2653         1.2667      -0.09%         -0.62%      +1.2694     +1.2655
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7714         0.7721      -0.07%         +0.29%      +0.7727     +0.7688
 NZ                           0.7173         0.7186      -0.17%         -0.10%      +0.7193     +0.7157
 Dollar/Dollar All spots
Tokyo spots
Europe spots 
Volatilities 
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ 

    
  

    
 (Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Stephen Coates and
Gerry Doyle)
  

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