Saturday, April 21, 2018

Stock & Commodities Related News

US STOCKS-Wall St falls on investor nerves about tech, interest rates - Reuters News

21-Apr-2018 03:01:31 AM

  • Apple falls on weak iPhone demand concerns, tech sector weak
  • Consumer Staple sector underperforms broader market
  • Oil prices turn negative after Trump criticizes OPEC
  • Bank stocks outperform on higher bond yields
  • Indexes down: Dow 0.91 pct, S&P 500 0.90 pct, Nasdaq 1.27 pct

Updates to late afternoon, adds commentary, changes byline, adds NEW YORK dateline

By Sinéad Carew

NEW YORK April 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Friday, as Apple led a decline in technology stocks amid fears about weak iPhone demand and investors worried about the impact of a rise in U.S. bond yields on equities.

The S&P technology index was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 as it was on track for three straight days of declines with a 1.5 percent drop. The consumer staples sector was the next biggest drag with a 1.7 percent fall, led by PepsiCo, which was down 2.9 percent.

"There continues to be some concern over interest rates and their potential impact on equities. There's also been a little bit of a lack of momentum in this earnings period," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

"It's not that earnings weren't good enough but company forecasts often weren't strong enough to make the market continue to rise," he said.

Also, investors were also jittery as the 10-year Treasury yield reached its highest level since March 21 as a bond selloff continued for a second day, driving the yield curve steeper after two weeks of flattening.

When yields are high, investors favor bonds over defensive sectors such as consumer staples and real estate, which promise high dividends and slow, predictable growth. But banks benefit because high interest rates can boost their profits. The financial sector was last down 0.1 percent, the best performer out of the S&P's 11 industry sectors.

At 2:38 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 223.45 points, or 0.91 percent, to 24,441.44, the S&P 500 lost 24.11 points, or 0.90 percent, to 2,669.02 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 91.84 points, or 1.27 percent, to 7,146.22.

Despite Friday's decline the S&P was on track for its second weekly increase in a row.

Apple was down 4 percent, making it the biggest drag on the major indexes after Morgan Stanley estimated weak demand for its latest iPhones, a day after Taiwan Semiconductor raised fears of softer smartphone sales.

"There's the Apple news and there maybe some nervousness coming into the upcoming earnings reports," said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust Co in Atlanta.

Alphabet, Facebook, Intel and Microsoft are among the major technology companies reporting next week.

S&P 500 companies are expected to report their strongest first-quarter profit gains in seven years. Of the 87 companies that have reported so far, 79.3 percent have topped profit expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

General Electric jumped 4.4 percent after it posted quarterly results that topped estimates and affirmed its 2018 forecasts.

Oil prices were down after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized OPEC and said oil prices were artificially high. The S&P energy index fell 0.6 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.40-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.70-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 12 new 52-week highs and 20 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 49 new highs and 42 new lows.


(Additional reporting by April Joyner in New York, Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Chizu Nomiyama)




UPDATE 6-Trump rails against high oil prices, OPEC pushes back - Reuters News

21-Apr-2018 03:56:00 AM

  • OPEC's Barkindo: no price objective in OPEC
  • Trump's first OPEC tweet on social media as president
  • Concern about renewed Iran sanctions driving bullish bets

Adds quote, updates prices to close of trading, adds link to EXPLAINER

By Susan Heavey and Rania El Gamal

WASHINGTON/JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, April 20 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump accused OPEC on Friday of "artificially" boosting oil prices, drawing rebukes from some of the world's top energy exporters.

"Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea. Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

It was unclear what triggered the tweet, Trump's first mention of OPEC on social media during his term.

U.S. oil prices are near a three-year high, at close to $70 a barrel, and have been rising since OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia cut supply in January 2017 to end a global oil glut and price collapse.

Trump's tweet came shortly after officials from top oil exporter Saudi Arabia said they would like to see prices climb even higher and that they were still far from their goal of ending the supply glut.

The cartel is expected to restrain supply through the end of this year, and possibly into 2019.

Three Saudi officials told Reuters this week they would be happy to see oil hit $80 or $100 a barrel. Higher prices drive up gasoline prices for motorists worldwide and rising energy costs feed inflation. But higher oil prices have also benefitted the U.S. energy industry, feeding rapid growth in output from shale fields. U.S. oil output is at record levels.

Despite Trump's comments, oil benchmarks ended the day modestly higher, rebounding from early losses.

Several members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries responded to the tweet, saying prices were not artificially inflated.

Delegates at an OPEC/non-OPEC monitoring committee meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia said oil prices were higher partially because of global political tensions, mentioning sanctions on Venezuela, threats to the Iran nuclear agreement, strikes on Syria and saber-rattling over North Korea.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said the output cut agreement halted the collapse in global oil prices, and is "on course to restore stability on a sustainable basis in the interest of producers, consumers and the global economy."

"We don't have any price objective in OPEC, and not in this joint endeavor with non-OPEC," Barkindo said on Friday, in response to Trump's tweet.

The group is next slated to meet in June to discuss output policy. Ministers from both Iraq and the United Arab Emirates also disagreed with Trump on Friday, with Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi saying prices are "not very high" and that the market is stabilizing.

Trump gave no details on what action his administration might take regarding oil or OPEC, and the White House did not respond to elaborate on the issue on the record.

"We have a difficult time seeing how OPEC would in any way be swayed here in terms of changing course, in terms of policy," said Michael Tran, commodity strategist at RBC.

OPEC's output fell in March to an 11-month low, according to a Reuters survey. The cartel has targeted the five-year average of inventories in 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries as a barometer for the deal's success.

As of mid-April, those inventories were 2.85 billion barrels, or 43 million more than the five-year average; a year ago, it was 268 million barrels above that benchmark.

This week, crude futures benchmarks Brent and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) hit their highest since November 2014, with Brent touching $74.75 and U.S. crude $69.56 per barrel.

That has raised fuel costs, with average U.S. prices for gasoline hitting $2.75 a gallon on Wednesday, according to motorist advocacy group AAA, up more than 30 cents from a year earlier and at their highest since July 2015.

Trump is "just trying to relate to his base when it comes to the retail gasoline prices, so he's blaming OPEC for this," said Josh Graves, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago.

Beyond OPEC's supply management, crude prices have been supported by expectations that Washington will re-introduce sanctions on OPEC-member Iran, and might expand sanctions against Venezuela after that country's presidential election next month.

"If one concern about reinstating sanctions on Iranian oil is the impact that it could have on oil prices, then it could be a preemptive measure to blame OPEC instead," said Antoine Halff, senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

Hedge funds and other speculators hold a record level of bullish bets on Brent, on expectations of further price rises.

The U.S. government cannot legally influence oil prices other than through releasing oil from its strategic reserve which it does occasionally.

This year's budget agreement includes the sale of about 100 million barrels of crude oil - about 15 percent of the reserve - as U.S. oil production recently hit a record at more than 10 million barrels a day. That release is not related to high oil prices, and analysts said it signaled Washington was not concerned about the potential for future global shortages.

"Washington has fully given up this idea of scarcity. You don't get to the point of selling your strategic reserves to balance your budget if you think the world is short," said Kevin Book, managing director at Clearview Energy Partners.


(Additional reporting by Alex Lawler in London and Stephanie Kelly, Ayenat Mersie and Scott DiSavino in New York, and Roberta Rampton in West Palm Beach, Florida; Writing by David Gaffen
Editing by Simon Webb and Tom Brown)




UPDATE 9-Oil recovers after sliding on Trump tweet criticizing OPEC - Reuters News

21-Apr-2018 03:55:13 AM

  • Trump says oil prices artificially high
  • Brent, WTI this week hit highest levels since November, 2014
  • U.S. oil rig count rises for third straight week - Baker Hughes

Updates prices, adds comment

By Ayenat Mersie

NEW YORK, April 20 (Reuters) - Oil prices edged up on Friday, stabilizing after an earlier slide driven by U.S. President Donald Trump's criticism of OPEC's role in pushing up global oil prices.

Brent crude oil futures gained 28 cents, or 0.4 percent, to settle at $74.06 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for delivery in June, the most active U.S. contract, were up 7 cents at $68.40. The May WTI contract, which expired on Friday, gained 9 cents, or 0.1 percent, to settle at $68.38.

"Looks like OPEC is at it again," Trump tweeted.

"With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!"

Since early 2017, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies have curbed output in the hopes of eliminating a global oil glut.

Prices held up, even under Trump's comments, said Walter Zimmerman, chief technical analyst at United-ICAP.

"Oil looks like it wants to explore the upside a little more," Zimmerman said.

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said that the organization does not have a price objective, but that it is working to restore stability to oil markets.

Earlier this week, both Brent and WTI hit their highest levels since November 2014, at $74.75 and $69.56 per barrel respectively, buoyed by geopolitical risk and a tightening market. For the week, both benchmarks gained over 1 percent.

"The only thing [Trump] can really do is drain the SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve). Now, I have not seen any indication that the administration plans on doing that," said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.

If Trump does start discussing the possibility of draining the strategic petroleum reserves, or SPR, that would pressure prices, Yawger said.

"We have a difficult time seeing how OPEC would in any way be swayed here in terms of changing course, in terms of policy," said Michael Tran, commodity strategist at RBC Capital Markets.

Trump has recently been a bullish factor for oil, Tran said.

"One of the major variables that's fueling the rally in oil prices is the market's perception that his administration is taking an increasingly hawkish stance on foreign policy," he said.

The United States has until May 12 to decide whether it will leave the Iran nuclear deal, which would further tighten global supplies.

U.S. drillers added oil rigs for the third consecutive week in the week to April 20 bringing the total count to 820, the highest since March 2015, according to General Electric's Baker Hughes energy services firm.


(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London and Henning Gloystein in Singapore
Editing by Marguerita Choy and Jon Boyle)




OPEC-non-OPEC countries achieve highest ever conformity level at 149% in March - Emirates News Agency

21-Apr-2018 03:45:15 AM

OPEC/non/OPEC countries / conformity level

JEDDAH, 20th April, 2018 (WAM) -- OPEC and participating non-OPEC countries have achieved a conformity level of 149 percent in March with their voluntary production adjustments, the highest level so far, announced the OPEC/Non-OPEC Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) following it 8th meeting in Jeddah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 20 April 2018.

"Once again, participating countries have demonstrated unwavering dedication to achieving the rebalancing of the global oil market, as demonstrated by the high conformity level of 149 percent. Their collective efforts continue to yield positive results, with market fundamentals being solid. OECD commercial stock levels have been adjusted from a peak of 3.12 billion barrels in July 2016 to 2.83 billion barrels in March 2018, corresponding to a drop of 300 million barrels. Nevertheless, it was noted that the current commercial stocks remain above levels seen before the market downturn," said the JMMC in a press release.

The highest conformity for the month of March 2018 followed successive months of record-breaking performances.

The JMMC urged all participating countries to remain focused on and, where necessary, intensify their efforts on the basis of the core principles of transparency, fairness and equity, which are central to the "Declaration of Cooperation." Given the ongoing transformative impact which the "Declaration of Cooperation" has on the global oil market, the JMMC will continue to think through further means of strengthening the Cooperation.

The next JMMC Meeting is scheduled to be held on 21 June 2018 at the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna, Austria.

© Copyright 2018 Emirates News Agency (WAM) Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc.




Kuwait reiterates OPEC output cut conformity - Emirates News Agency

21-Apr-2018 03:45:05 AM

Kuwait / OPEC

JEDDAH, 20th April, 2018 (WAM)-- The State of Kuwait has been committed to cutting oil production so as to restore balance at global markets, Kuwaiti Minister of Oil, Electricity and Water Bakheet Al-Rashidi said on Friday.

The minister made the statement to KUNA after he had led Kuwait's delegation participating in the eighth meeting of the Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) hosted by the Saudi city of Jeddah.

OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers' commitment to the output cut deal reached 149 percent, said the minister, adding that it has been the highest rate since the deal was put in effect in January 2017.

All countries taking part in the meeting have announced their continued abidance by working to restore balance at the global oil markets, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, the ministerial committee affirmed in its report that the level of commercial reserves of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries dropped from 3.12 billion barrels in July 2017 to 2.83 billion barrels, representing a decrease of 300 million in surplus.

The report noted that the surplus in reserve is still exceeding accepted levels before 2014, the period which witnessed a drop in oil prices, it added.

© Copyright 2018 Emirates News Agency (WAM) Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc.




Declaration of Cooperation still having positive impact on world oil markets: UAE Minister of Energy - Emirates News Agency

21-Apr-2018 03:45:05 AM


JEDDAH, 20th April, 2018 (WAM) -- The Declaration of Cooperation by 24 OPEC-Non-OPEC Producing Countries is still having positive impact on the world oil market thanks to the diligent work and dedication by the participating countries, said Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry and President of OPEC.

"In March, OPEC and participating non-OPEC countries have achieved a conformity level of 149 percent with their voluntary production adjustments, the highest level so far. OECD commercial stock levels have dropped from 10 million barrels to 2.8 million barrels," Suhail Al Mazrouei stated following the 8th meeting of the OPEC/Non-OPEC Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) in Jeddah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 20 April 2018.

The OPEC President urged participating countries to continue their efforts so as to stabilise and rebalance the world oil markets.

Commenting on the latest record-breaking conformity level, he said,: The work is not over yet and OPEC will and its partners will continue to honour their commitments until the market is completely stabilised and rebalanced." The JMMC was established following OPEC's 171st Conference Decision of 30 November 2016, and the subsequent Declaration of Cooperation made at the joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Producing Countries' Ministerial Meeting held on 10 December 2016 at which 11 (now 10) non-OPEC oil producing countries cooperated with the 13 (now 14) OPEC Member Countries in a concerted effort to accelerate the stabilisation of the global oil market through voluntary adjustments in total production of around 1.8 million barrels per day.

© Copyright 2018 Emirates News Agency (WAM) Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc.





Speculators raise U.S. crude oil net longs-CFTC - Reuters News

21-Apr-2018 03:35:13 AM

Money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to April 17, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday. The speculator group raise its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 31,273 contracts to 472,907 during the period. The data below exclude trader positions in the NYMEX financial crude oil futures contract, which is normally included in our aggregate calculations. The data were not provided by the CFTC this week.

Speculators boost U.S. natgas net longs for first week in five -CFTC - Reuters News

21-Apr-2018 03:38:02 AM

April 20 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas speculators boosted their net long positions for the first time in five weeks, betting prices will rise as exports increase and lingering cold weather continues to cut into already low inventories.

Speculators in four major New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) markets added to their bullish bets by 28,317 contracts to 221,087 in the week to April 17, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.


(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Diane Craft)




UPDATE 1-Speculators raise net long positions in COMEX gold, copper -CFTC - Reuters

21-Apr-2018 04:04:40 AM

Adds CFTC data, market background, table

- Hedge funds and money managers raised their net long positions in COMEX gold and copper contracts in the week to April 17, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.

They also trimmed a net short position in silver futures and options, the data showed.

Speculators raised their net long position in COMEX gold by 5,382 contracts to 143,594 contracts, according to the CFTC. This was the largest position since late March.

Spot gold prices remained stuck in a tight trading range as tension over Syria and U.S. sanctions on Russia softened the U.S. dollar, yet an expectation of higher U.S. interest rates and easing tensions hovered, denting gold's appeal as an investment.

Higher U.S. interest rates make gold less attractive since it does not draw interest.

The dealers also raised their net long position in copper by 8,434 contracts to 22,478 contracts, CFTC data showed, to the strongest in three weeks.

Speculators cut their short position in silver by 21,955 contracts to 14,462 contracts, the data showed. This was the smallest net short position in five weeks.



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(Reporting by Renita D. Young; Editing by Diane Craft and Sandra Maler)




Gold futures decline on stronger greenback, higher rates expectation - Xinhua News Agency

21-Apr-2018 03:48:43 AM

CHICAGO, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange closed lower on Friday, as the U.S. dollar drifted higher and higher U.S. interest rates are expected by traders.

The most active gold contract for June delivery dropped 10.5 U.S. dollars, or 0.78 percent, to close at 1,338.3 dollars per ounce.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the buck against six rivals, went up 0.37 percent to 90.277 as of 2000 GMT.

Gold and the dollar typically move in opposite directions, which means if the dollar goes up, gold futures will fall.

Adding further pressure on bullion, a U.S. central banker said the Federal Reserve should keep raising interest rates this year and next to keep the economy from overheating and financial stability risks from rising.

Higher rates dent the appeal of non-interest yielding bullion while lifting the dollar, in which it is priced.

As for other precious metals, silver for May delivery fell 7.6 cents, or 0.44 percent, to settle at 17.163 dollars per ounce. Platinum for July was down 8.3 dollars, or 0.88 percent, to close at 931.8 dollars per ounce. Enditem




PRECIOUS-Gold slips on U.S. rate rise view, easing global tensions - Reuters News

21-Apr-2018 01:56:15 AM

  • Gold long positions being closed -analyst
  • Silver off 2-1/2-month highs hit in previous session
  • Platinum down from Thursday's 3-week highs

 (New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments, adds second byline, NEW YORK dateline)

By Renita D. Young and Zandi Shabalala

NEW YORK/LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Friday and were on track to end the week lower as the dollar advanced on expectations of higher U.S. interest rates and market players grew a bit less worried about global political and security risks.

Spot gold lost 0.6 percent at $1,336.96 per ounce by 1:36 p.m. EDT (1736 GMT), while U.S. gold June futures settled down $10.50, or 0.8 percent, at $1,338.30. Spot gold was headed for a weekly decline of nearly 1 percent.

Investors were less jittery about geopolitical tensions that had supported gold prices earlier in the week, notably Syria and North Korea.

"Of course, the geopolitical risks are still high compared to the beginning of the year but it seems like they are slightly lower than a few days ago so prices have come off the boiler a bit," Capital Economics commodities economist Simona Gambarini said.

Gold is often used as safe haven in times of uncertainty.

Also pressuring bullion, a U.S. central banker said the Federal Reserve should keep raising interest rates this year and next to keep the economy from overheating and financial stability risks from rising.

Higher rates dent the appeal of non-interest yielding bullion while lifting the dollar, in which it is priced.

The dollar index gained against a basket of major currencies.

Investors were also relieved that no new U.S. demands on trade came out of a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump.

"Gold is really in a $1,300-$1,360 trading range," said Bill O'Neill, partner at Logic Advisors. "Gold is just in a wait and see pattern now. It's clearly not capable of really floating up."

Meanwhile, spot silver lost 0.5 percent at $17.13 per ounce, but up more than 3 percent for the week.

Platinum fell 0.6 percent at $927.40 per ounce, on track for a 0.6 percent weekly decline.

Palladium added 1.1 percent at $1,036.50 per ounce ending the week nearly 5 percent higher.

It recently rose as concerns that supply from No. 1 producer Russia could be disrupted by U.S. sanctions fed into a strong technical rebound following the metal's 20 percent fall from its January record high.

"We do not envisage palladium being affected by any sanctions because the United States would shoot itself in the foot by doing so," Commerzbank said, adding the country was a large palladium importer.


(Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; editing by David Gregorio and Louise Ireland)




CBOT soybeans close lower as exports dry up - Reuters News

21-Apr-2018 02:30:58 AM

- Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures fell to a two-week low on Friday, with traders focused on the possibility of declining demand from top global importer China.

·         The U.S. Department of Agriculture has not reported any new soybean sales this week.

·         Soymeal futures closed in positive territory on some technical buying after sinking to their lowest since April 4.

·         Soyoil futures were slightly weaker as the market held support above the 10-1/2-month lows hit earlier this week.

·         For the week, CBOT May soybeans were down 2.3 percent. May soyoil futures dropped 2.1 percent this week and May soymeal was off 0.6 percent.


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(Reporting by Mark Weinraub Editing by Tom Brown)




CBOT corn falls to lowest in over two weeks - Reuters News

21-Apr-2018 02:27:36 AM

- Chicago Board of Trade corn futures fell for the fifth time in six sessions on Friday, hitting their lowest since April 4.

·         Traders said forecasts for warmer weather that will allow farmers in key growing areas of the U.S. Midwest to plant in the coming weeks weighed on the corn market.

·         CBOT corn posted a 2.5 percent loss this week, the biggest weekly loss since August.

·         The May contract briefly firmed overnight but turned lower after hitting resistance at its 50-day moving average. Support was noted at its 200-day moving average.


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(Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)




CBOT wheat closes lower ahead of forecast rains - Reuters News

21-Apr-2018 02:26:48 AM

- U.S. wheat futures fell on Friday on forecasts for rain in the U.S. Plains that could improve harvest prospects for drought-stressed crops.

·         Profit-taking also featured in the market following three straight days of gains, traders said.

·         Spring wheat futures were pressured by warming temperatures in the northern U.S. Plains that will allow farmers to begin planting in the coming weeks.

·         MGEX spring wheat hit a two-week low.

·         CBOT May soft red winter wheat futures were down 1.9 percent this week. K.C. hard red winter wheat futures for May delivery posted a weekly loss of 2.7 percent while MGEX May spring wheat dropped 2.6 percent.


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(Reporting by Mark Weinraub, editing by G Crosse)




FOREX-Dollar hits 2-week peak on higher U.S. yields; sterling sags - Reuters News

21-Apr-2018 03:17:36 AM

  • U.S. 2-year yield touches highest since Sept 2008
  • Euro hits 2-week lows amid worries about region's growth
  • Sterling on track for steepest weekly drop in 10 weeks
  • Commodity-sensitive currencies broadly lower

Updates market action, adds quote

By Richard Leong

NEW YORK, April 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose to a two-week high against a basket of currencies on Friday on rising U.S. yields, while sterling extended a decline in the wake of dovish comments from the head of the Bank of England.

The euro fell to a two-week low versus the dollar, for its biggest weekly drop in two months, as investors trimmed record high bets before a European Central Bank meeting next week where policymakers are largely expected to signal no change in policy.

Commodity-linked currencies came under pressure thanks to a drop in Chinese stocks, with the Australian and New Zealand dollars, hitting their lowest levels in at least two weeks.

"Higher U.S. yields have contributed to the rise in the dollar," said Chuck Tomes, senior investment analyst at Manulife Asset Management in Boston.

U.S. two-year Treasury yields reached 2.453 percent on Friday, the highest level since September 2008 as the two-year's spread versus two-year German Bunds grew to 302 basis points, the widest in more than three decades.

This week, Federal Reserve officials signaled further interest rate increases in 2018 based on evidence of steady U.S. growth, while the heads of the ECB and the Bank of England seemed in no rush to push rates higher in the wake of disappointing economic data out of Britain and Europe.

Still, the dollar's overall prospect remains cloudy due to expectations of the United States' growing trade and budget deficits, analysts said.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, rose 0.4 percent, to 90.314, after touching a near two-week high of 90.477.

The greenback gained 0.2 percent against the yen, at 107.50 yen, after touching a two-month peak of 107.85 yen.

The euro hit a two-week low of $1.2248, for a weekly drop of 0.39 percent, its steepest weekly fall in two months.

Expectations have grown that ECB policymakers may take another small step in exiting the bank's ultra-easy monetary policy after dropping a long-standing pledge to increase bond buying if needed at its meeting in March.

On Friday, ECB President Mario Draghi told central bankers and ministers at an event in Washington that the 19-nation euro zone has been expanding robustly and needs strong global growth and open trade for the expansion to continue.

But some analysts doubt the ECB would signal further changes in policy next week.

"The speed of euro zone activity has declined after the very strong activity we had seen in 2017," said Ugo Lancioni, head of currency management with Neuberger Berman in London. "The ECB may be cautious."

Sterling shed 0.4 percent to $1.4032, leading to a weekly loss of 1.4 percent, which would be its biggest in 10 weeks.

Sterling has fallen on weaker-than-expected inflation and retail sales data and comments from BOE Governor Mark Carney on Thursday, which traders interpreted as the BOE's being less committed to raising rates in May due to recent "mixed" data.

 (Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London and Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Leslie Adler)