Global Markets: Treasury yields, dollar gain after Fed’s historic policy shift

FILE PHOTO: A U.S. dollar banknote is pictured behind a protective mask, which is widely used as a preventive measure against the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Longer-dated Treasury yields and the dollar rose in Asia on Friday after the U.S. Federal Reserve shifted its policy framework to place more emphasis on boosting economic growth and less on worries about letting inflation run too high.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose to 0.7870%, the highest since June 10, which caused the yield curve to steepen, reflecting the Fed’s tolerance for higher inflation.

The dollar hit a two-week high against the yen but held steady against most other major currencies. Gold prices erased early gains and edged higher.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan bounced between gains and losses in choppy trade. U.S. stock futures rose 0.25%.

Australian stocks fell 0.85%. Shares in China rose 0.33%, while Tokyo stocks gained 0.16%.

Oil futures fell due to easing concern about the impact of a hurricane that struck the centre of the U.S. oil industry.

Markets swirled after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell laid out a policy that aims for 2% inflation on average so that too low a pace would be followed by an effort to lift inflation “moderately above 2% for some time.”

Powell’s comments were widely expected, but some traders in Asia were disappointed that the Fed did not reveal more details about how the new framework will work or provide any clues to what it will do at its next policy meeting.

“Average inflation had been talked up quite a bit, so we knew this was coming,” said Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.

“But Powell really didn’t reveal much beyond that. Some people who were expecting a clearer steer on policy or some kind of cap on bond yields are left disappointed.”

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan later said the new policy framework is not a commitment to future action, which contributed to confusion about how it will work, Daiwa’s Ishizuki said.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.57%, the S&P 500 gained 0.17%, both setting new intraday highs.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.34%.

Stocks also rose on news that Abbott Laboratories won U.S. marketing authorization for a COVID-19 portable antigen test that can deliver results in 15 minutes and will sell for $5. Abbott’s shares rose 7.9%.

The dollar rose against the yen but weakened slightly against the Australian dollar, the British pound and the yuan.

Spot gold advanced 0.32% to $1,935.07 as traders considered the Fed’s new stance on inflation.

U.S. crude futures fell 0.1% to $42.98 a barrel. Brent crude futures fell to $45.07 a barrel after U.S. refiners avoided the worst of a storm that struck the U.S. Gulf Coast.

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