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FOREX-Dollar set for weekly loss; risk sentiment still buoyed by vaccine progress
Published at 20/11/2020 at 13:06
* Dollar recovers overnight losses
* Aussie, euro, yen little changed
* Bitcoin nears three-year high
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020
(Updates prices, adds comment)
By Elizabeth Howcroft
LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The dollar slipped against a basket of currencies on Friday and was set to end the week on a loss, while riskier currencies were set for weekly gains, buoyed by improved risk appetite following COVID-19 vaccine progress and Joe Biden's U.S. election victory.
The dollar's downward trend was interrupted late on Thursday when U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called an end to some of the Federal Reserve’s pandemic lending - news that also saw the dollar edge up in early London trading.
The announcement curtailed optimism created by reports that Republican and Democratic senators had agreed to resume talks on another coronavirus stimulus package.
But by midday GMT, the dollar had resumed falling, down 0.1% on the day at 92.288 at 1203 GMT in a quiet day for currency markets.
The dollar has fallen for eight out of the last 10 sessions, as currency traders' appetite for risk increased.
Pfizer Inc said it had applied for emergency use authorisation in the United States for its COVID-19 vaccine.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE on Wednesday reported final trial results showing the vaccine was 95% effective, news that bolstered market sentiment.
Kenneth Broux, FX strategist at Societe Generale, said that while equity markets are more bullish on the one-year horizon, for bond and currency markets it is the next 3-6 months that are
important, as central banks react to the economic fallout from the second wave of COVID-19.
"We’re waiting for Monday, for the PMIs in Europe and the UK," he said. "We know what the direction of travel is but we want to know what the speed of travel is."
The euro was flat against the dollar, at $1.18710 at 1213 GMT , on track for a small weekly gain, which Broux said was more a function of dollar weakness than euro strength.
European Union leaders clashed on Thursday over Hungary and Poland vetoing the bloc's 1.8 trillion-euro ($2.14 trillion) recovery plan but decided to allow more time for an agreement. The euro was unaffected.
"We are inclined to think a common solution will be eventually found (in line with the prior examples of EU disputes) taking away the hurdle for more EUR/USD upside in 2021, and noting the wider soft USD environment," wrote ING strategists in a note to clients.
Commerzbank strategist You-Na Park-Heger wrote that "there is simply a lack of new impulses at present to let EUR-USD break out of the range of 1.16-1.19."
"Yes, there is still optimistic news regarding a possible vaccine, but the euphoria about that question has eased notably," she said, adding that the European Central Bank is expected to increase stimulus in December.
The Australian dollar - seen as a liquid proxy for risk appetite - is having its best month versus the U.S. dollar since April, in terms of percentage change .
At 1215 GMT, it was up 0.4% on the day at 0.73105 versus the U.S. dollar .
The New Zealand dollar hit new 2-year highs of 0.6949
, helped by positive risk appetite. It also had been boosted last week by traders reducing their expectations for negative rates after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand upgraded its estimate for GDP growth.
The Japanese yen was down around 0.1% against the dollar, at 103.82 at 1219 GMT .
U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with Republican leaders from Michigan at the White house on Friday, as his campaign pursues an increasingly desperate bid to overturn the Nov. 3 election result.
Elsewhere, Bitcoin came close to – but did not surpass – the Wednesday's three-year high of $18,483 . ($1 = 0.8425 euros)
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(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano; editing by Larry King and Steve Orlofsky)
((Elizabeth.Howcroft@thomsonreuters.com; +44 02075427104;))