February 5, 2019 / 1:07 AM / 3 months ago

FOREX-Dollar stays firm on improved sentiment, rise in U.S. Treasury yields

* Dollar index bounces off 200-day moving average

* Aussie sheds 0.4 pct after below-par retail sales

* Reserve Bank of Australia expected to remain on hold

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Daniel Leussink

TOKYO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The dollar held on to recent gains against its peers on Tuesday, supported by a recovery in investor risk appetite, which helped push up U.S. yields during the previous session.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was barely changed at 95.828 after gaining for three straight sessions.

“The overly pessimistic view on developed economies and the overly dovish view on the (Federal Reserve) is being unwound,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities.

Trading was likely to remain subdued in Asia with many markets across the region closed for Lunar New Year holidays for much of the week.

The index rose 0.7 percent after dipping last week below its 200-day moving average for the first time since early January 2018.

It gained as Treasury yields rose with that of the 10-year jumping 9 basis points over the past two sessions.

Yields have climbed after MSCI’s gauge of global stocks hit a two-month high on Monday as optimism over recently concluded U.S.-China trade talks helped send U.S. technology and industrial shares higher.

Against the Japanese yen, the dollar gained a tad to 109.98 yen. It had briefly risen above 110 yen for the first time since Dec. 31 overnight.

“There’s further room to rise for the U.S. two-year yield. If this move continues, dollar/yen will rise above 110” again, said Mizuho’s Yamamoto.

The euro was flat at $1.1437, off three-week high of $1.15145 set on Thursday.

The Australian dollar slipped 0.4 percent to $0.7199 as retail sales for December came in weaker than expected, and ahead of a policy decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia later in the day.

The RBA is widely expected to keep interest rates on hold, though some market players now expect a cut later this year due to mounting signs of economic weakness.

Sterling was basically flat at $1.3038 after seesawing during the previous session on uncertainty over the way Britain will leave the European Union.

In late Monday trade, sterling gave up gains made earlier in the day after a newspaper report said that goods shipped to Britain from the European Union could be waved through without checks in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

The Canadian dollar was a shade weaker against the greenback.

It also fell one tenth of a percent overnight, reversing some of last week’s rally, as oil prices fell and the greenback broadly climbed.

Editing by Sam Holmes

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